June 2020

Memoir/Biography

The Insider by Christopher Pyne

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It was with a great deal of anticipation that I sat down to read Christopher Pyne’s book. Here was the consummate politician, the Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, a man with twenty-five years of experiencing the political realm, the hothouse that is the Lower Chamber. The book

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General Fiction

Last Survivor by Tony Park

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Tony Park’s novels are well known to most readers of general fiction. His books are usually fast moving narratives that tell an exciting story and introduce characters as efficiently as some of the highly visible, top line writers. His Scent of Fear and Ghosts of the Past were exciting and worthwhile. 

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Poetry

The Poet’s Mistake by Erica McAlpine

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Erica McAlpine expends considerable energy on defining what she means by a mistake in poetry. At first glance, mistakes are just mistakes – somebody has written something and got it wrong. McAlpine’s example of turkeys in England (in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1) when there were no such birds in the

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General Fiction

Better Luck Next Time by Kate Hilton

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend In her latest novel, Better Luck Next Time, Kate Hilton introduces readers to a cast of angst-ridden characters; a chaotic mix that includes: a famous feminist icon, five capable professional women,husbands and fathers, two unattached wise men, an angry teenage boy, and, crashing through the sound barrier, four-year-old twin sisters.  Manipulating

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Cooking/Diet

The Edible Garden Cookbook & Growing Guide by Paul West

Reviewed by Clare Brook Whereas the Covid-19 toilet paper debacle has been well publicized, the rush to buy vegetable seedlings is virtually unknown, perhaps because gardeners are calm and well mannered.  Nevertheless, it is clear that this virus has brought the realization that a little bit of self-sufficiency is prudent, so the publication of Paul

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Children

Tippy and Jellybean by Sophie Cunningham

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The catastrophic bushfires at the beginning of this year dominated the news and usurped the television.  Normal programmes vanished and were replaced by roaring flames, some forty metres high, a devastated charred landscape and homes reduced to rubble. Amongst this horror were heart-rending glimpses of injured animals.  A kangaroo turning the

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General Fiction

On a Barbarous Coast by Craig Cormick and Harold Ludwick

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The earlier chapters of On a Barbarous Coast might strike the reader to be an imagined survival story set near what is now Cooktown. The exploits of the crew of Cook’s Endeavour are graphically related.  It is, in fact, much much more. In order to conclude as it does, the authors

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History

The Decline and Rise of Democracy by David Stasavage

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It seems incongruous that a book on such a timid concept as democracy has become one of the most exciting, serious books I’ve read. When Stasavage asks where democracy originated, he provides answers that are not what readers expect. When he examines the nature of democracy, he delves into a very

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General Fiction

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar

Reviewed by E.B. Heath … Mum came down from the tallest greengage tree … “This whole thing is not at all as I’d thought” … Life is precisely that which she and others were prodigiously killing – the moment itself. Should an award ever exist for the category ‘Lightness of Touch when Writing about Brutality’

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General Fiction

A Universe of Sufficient Size by Miriam Sved

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The impressive title, A Universe of Sufficient Size, promises themes that are far from trivial.  The reader is not disappointed with this brilliant novel.  It gives a fine portrait of genius in the character Pali Kalmar who is based on the mathematician Paul Erdos – a Hungarian. Pali is unprepossessing in

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Children

Oi Puppies! by Kes Gray and Jim Field

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Many parents and teachers who value literacy and wish to make the acquisition of reading skills an exciting and effective activity, would find Oi Puppies! to be a terrific aid. Experts in the field agree that the earlier books and stories are introduced to a child, the easier it is for

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General Fiction

Lanny by Max Porter

Reviewed by Rod McLary Lanny is a book of the imagination and the reader who most enjoys it will have an imagination to match.  Lanny – the eponymous hero – is a young boy living with his parents in a village outside London.  His mother, Jolie, is an emerging crime writer and his father, Robert,

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