May 2021

Children

The Book of Australian Trees by Inga Simpson

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke This is a beautifully presented hardcovered 24.5 x 32cm book about fifteen Australian trees.  It is presented as a children’s book and I believe is best suited to middle to upper primary school children. Wording on the back cover states – ‘This book is a love song to Australian trees, from

Read More »
Memoir/Biography

Flash Jim by Kel Richards

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The life of James Hardy Vaux, convict author, is told by Kel Richards in an entertaining way which compliments nicely the colourful life of his subject. Vaux’s claim to fame lies with his compilation of Australia’s first dictionary. He also wrote an autobiography which, when published in London, sold well.  Vaux

Read More »
Non-Fiction

My Forests by Janine Burke

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders The world is full of trees. And the world is full of books about trees. We may be able to live without the books, but not without the trees. The competition for the reader’s attention is tangible and any author has an incentive to present something new and different about the

Read More »
General Fiction

Now That I See You by Emma Batchelor

Reviewed by Rod McLary Now That I See You is drawn from the lived experience of the narrator as she traverses through the process of her male partner’s transitioning to female. ‘Transitioning’ from one gender to the other [the term encompasses both male-to-female and female-to-male] is a challenging concept to grasp.  Our sexuality and gender

Read More »
Health/Wellbeing

Change Your Thinking to Change Your Life by Kate James

Reviewed by Clare Brook  I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being. Hafiz The proliferation of self-help books littering second hand bookstores is enough to induce cynicism about the whole genre.  However, Change Your Thinking to Change Your Life by Kate James restores

Read More »
Children

Pawcasso by Remy Lai

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve There is so much to enjoy in Pawcasso, a graphic novel written and illustrated by Remy Lai, born in Indonesia but now living in Brisbane.  She has become a successful, much loved author and it all began at the Somerset Storyfest on the Gold Coast. Jo is a girl who lives

Read More »
Crime/Mystery

Sooley by John Grisham

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Over many years I have followed John Grisham through the medium of his novels. Books like A Time to Kill, The Firm, The Last Juror and The Runaway Jury together with so many others have kept me entertained for hours on end. There has never been any doubt that Grisham can

Read More »
General Fiction

The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer

Reviewed by Ian Lipke As one would expect, this novel deals with that terrible period in European history when the Nazis overran Poland and locked many of Warsaw’s Jewish population behind a wall. The novel tells the story of brave individuals who withstood German might in ways that seemed insignificant but had an effect more

Read More »
General Fiction

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve A trip that should have taken seven hours, lasts almost a day – time to reveal relationships in turmoil, minor dramas involving wrists and ankles, an unlikely hero and a mystery lurking around one of the five passengers. The Road Trip is a romance writ large. The characters, mostly twenty-somethings, are

Read More »
Crime/Mystery

Vanished by James Delargy

Reviewed by Rod McLary The genre of crime writing is a rather crowded one.  There are of course the giants of the genre – Lee Child, David Baldacci, Ian Rankin – and then in Australia we have Jane Harper, Peter Corris and Garry Disher – just to name a very few.  But there is always

Read More »
General Fiction

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Sutanto

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend It is rare that one embarks on a review by advising readers where and how to sit while reading the novel in question.   However, in the case of Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Sutanto, I feel obliged to impart exactly that information. Do not read while on a train, bus,

Read More »
General Fiction

Second Place by Rachel Cusk

Reviewed by Rod McLary In early 1922, the English writer DH Lawrence and his wife Frieda visited Mabel Dodge Luhan – a wealthy American patron of the arts – at her home in Taos New Mexico.  By all accounts, the visit was a ‘fraught’ one.  Both Lawrence and Luhan later and separately wrote about the

Read More »

The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award 2021

  The Winner of the 2021 The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award is Emma Batchelor, 32 from Canberra. Her novel, Now That I See You, is an authentic, complex and intimate exploration of identity, gender, sexuality, love and mental health. This auto-fiction novel spans over 18 months of a long-term relationship, after one partner discloses to the

Read More »