September 2020

Non-Fiction

The Carbon Club by Marian Wilkinson

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Leo A. Notenboom is a commentator on issues relating to information technology, computers, and the internet. With the latter in mind he wrote that believing and spreading lies and misleading implications is akin to spreading manure. He instances confirmation bias as the tendency we all have to believe things that confirm what

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Non-Fiction

The Altar Boys by Suzanne Smith

Reviewed by Rod McLary In 2013, the Federal Government announced the establishment of its Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  The Commission released its final report in November 2017 after many case studies into specific institutions and numerous interviews with victims/survivors of child sexual abuse and their families.  For the first time

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General Fiction

Pilgrims by Matthew Kneale

Reviewed by Rod McLary The golden age for pilgrimages from what we now call Britain to Rome was the thirteenth century.  The reasons for persons undertaking a long and onerous – and sometimes unsafe – journey to Rome were multi-fold ranging from the personal to the public.  The most common reason was to do penance

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Crime/Mystery

The Survivors by Jane Harper

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Jane Harper’s fourth mystery/thriller is shaped by life in a small coastal town in Tasmania, Evelyn Bay. Ten years prior, tragedy rocked the community and today, in its barely contained calm, it confronts more awkward questions when a body is found on the beach. In all her novels, Jane Harper is

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Non-Fiction

The Road by John Martinkus

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It was a simple road. A winding, twisting road through high country, an engineering marvel in parts. But the road was to pass through West Papua. It was to stir a war between the West Papuan Independence Movement on the one hand, who saw West Papua as part of Papua New

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Cooking/Diet

Easy Gluten Free by Helen Tzouganatos

Reviewed by Gerard Healy A family-friendly cookbook from Helen Tzouganatos containing over 100 recipes for busy cooks. Each recipe is accompanied by a mouth-watering colour photograph taken by Jeremy Simons, which adds greatly to the appeal. Since I enter any kitchen with a large L plate on my back, I was attracted to the ‘Easy’

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Non-Fiction

The Lonely Century by Noreena Hertz

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve From one of the world’s leading thinkers, The Lonely Century is a wide-ranging and detailed examination of how this rapidly changing world has become the loneliest time in our history.  Noreena Hertz does this by looking at social, political and personal lives in a manner that is bold and confronting in

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Non-Fiction

From Snow to Ash by Anthony Sharwood

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders You can’t help but admire someone setting off on a journey like this. Any long distance walk in back country requires mental and physical doggedness, and the 660km Australian Alps Walking Track is right up there. Having walked bits of the same route, I looked forward to this book taking me

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Young Adult

None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Puccini would have had no idea what Ellie Marney planned to do with his great aria from Turandot Nessun Dorma (or None Shall Sleep). Opera lovers across the world would be cringing at her audacity if the book were just not so good. One bump continues to bother (and that will

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2020 Booker Prize

On 15 September, the 2020 Booker Prize shortlist was revealed by the 2020 Chair of Judges Margaret Busby. The shortlist was selected from 162 submitted books. Readers of the six chosen books will explore the tender story of a mother’s battle to save her daughter in a dystopian city made inhospitable by the climate crisis;

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Children

Havoc! The Untold Magic of Cora Bell by Rebecca McRitchie

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The rollicking sequel to Jinxed! Cora Bell’s Untold Magic is a roller coaster of colourful adventures, humour and, of course, magical antics.  It is bound to please the ever-increasing number of readers who are lovers of fantasy. The background to Cora’s acquiring her magic skills and becoming a ‘syphon’ is explained

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General Fiction

The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

Reviewed by Ian Lipke A huge book of 800+ pages, The Evening and the Morning appears to be a useful source of information relating to the pre-1000 CE period. Having read general knowledge books in the history of this era as well as some specialist tomes, I am comfortable in asserting that the author’s research

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General Fiction

Lionhearts by Nathan Makaryk

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Lionhearts opens with England in dire need of a king. But Richard 1, the Lionheart, has been captured while on Crusade and is held fast in Austria pending payment of a ransom. To raise the money needed to bring him home, every lord has increased taxes and the common people are

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Non-Fiction

The Good Germans by Catrine Clay

Reviewed by Ian Lipke While I have never heard of Catrine Clay, whose ‘ground-breaking research’ produced The Good Germans, the fault is not hers. It is my responsibility to keep up. I note that Ms Clay has written at least one other book, King Kaiser Tsar, and on its merits has been described as an

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General Fiction

Bluebird by Malcolm Knox

Reviewed by Rod McLary Bluebird is a sprawling novel set in the fictitious small town of Bluebird located just across the bay from Ocean City.  It could be anywhere but the descriptions of the town’s characters place it squarely in Australia.  Most readers would recognise – and perhaps some may even know – many of

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