June 2021

General Fiction

The Others by Mark Brandi

Reviewed by Rod McLary The title of this book – The Others – immediately suggests a ‘them versus us’ scenario and that is exactly what it is.  But, in this book, the ‘us’ is an eleven-year-old boy and his father and the ‘them’ while never clearly identified are always present – a little like shadows

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ABA Booksellers’ Choice Awards 2021

ABA 2021 Booksellers’ Choice winners announced. The winners of the Australian Booksellers Association’s (ABA) 2021 Booksellers’ Choice Book of the Year Awards have been announced. The winning titles in each category are:  Adult Fiction Book of the Year The Dictionary of Lost Words (Pip Williams, Affirm) Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year Phosphorescence (Julia Baird, Fourth Estate)

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Crime/Mystery

When You Are Mine by Michael Robotham

Reviewed by Gerard Healy Michael Robotham’s latest thriller is a roller-coaster ride of suspense and plot twists. The writer has set another story in London, this time with a young, female policewoman as the central character. Her name is Philomena (Phil) McCarthy and she is the estranged daughter of a gangster. The theme that runs

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Crime/Mystery

The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry

Reviewed by Rod McLary Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho ­attracted a great deal of attention when it was released – not the least of which was due to its main protagonist, played by Janet Leigh, being murdered within the first half-hour.  It was almost unheard of for the main character to disappear from the screen

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Non-Fiction

On Politics and Stuff by Mark Humphries and Evan Williams

Reviewed by Gerard Healy A quick, smash and grab look at Australian politics by Mark Humphries and Evan Williams. It’s a small, joke-packed volume you can easily read in a few hours, leaving you with a few good chuckles but unlikely to have made a very lasting impression. In food terms, it’s a light entrée

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Memoir/Biography

House of Kwa by Mimi Kwa

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke As a writer and news anchor for TV networks for over twenty years, first with the ABC then Channel 9, Mimi Kwa felt compelled to write this memoir after opening a letter from her father which contained the following information: THE SUPREME COURT OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA Kwa v Kwa In the

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Memoir/Biography

How Stella Learned to Talk by Christina Hunger

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend Finally! Someone has cracked the language barrier between us and our very best friends – dogs.  Caring dog owners have always known that dogs can communicate, many of whom are fluent in dogese.  But a very clever person has taught her dog to speak English via an augmentative and alternative communication

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Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2021

Douglas Stuart’s Booker Prize-winning debut novel Shuggie Bain (Picador) has won book of the year at the British Book Awards, reports the Bookseller. The novel, which also won the debut book of the year award, won the top award ahead of Maggie O’Farrell, who won the fiction award for Hamnet (Tinder Press), and David Olusoga, who won the children’s illustrated and

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General Fiction

The Other Half of You by Michael Mohammed Ahmad

Reviewed by Rod McLary In 2018, Michael Mohammed Ahmad won the NSW Premier’s Multicultural Literary Award for his novel The Lebs [also reviewed in these pages]; and, later that year, the novel was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. The Lebs told the story of Bani Adam as he negotiated issues such as cultural

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General Fiction

The Man with the Silver Saab by Älexander McCall Smith

Reviewed by Richard Tutin I am very partial to books written by Älexander McCall Smith. I am also partial to vintage and veteran cars. So when McCall Smith’s latest book features a venerable Saab car then, in the line from a current car TV ad, “I’m In”. The Man with the Silver Saab is the

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Children

The Exploding Life of Scarlett Fife by Maz Evans

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve This is a book bursting with energy, nicely combining story, issues, wise advice and hilarious situations. Scarlett, ten years old, enthusiastically lives her life but this is punctuated by explosions of anger and frustration with sometimes unfortunate and unintended results. On one occasion, at the family wedding, the guests are splattered

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Crime/Mystery

The Dying Diplomats Club by Matthew Benns

Reviewed by Ian Lipke On occasion, established writers of non-fiction can make a successful transition to fiction writing. Not so, in this case. In my view – which is not shared by some of the more prominent members of the writing community – this book has problems. Matthew Benns’s sense of humour is an irritant

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Academic

The New Academic by Simon Clews

Reviewed by Ian Lipke In years gone by, before the osmotic model of learning became fashionable, when senior academic staff actually taught their students, and tutors were engaged merely to assist the teaching staff, such a book as that which Simon Clews has written (but geared to revealing the secrets of efficient academic research), would

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Crime/Mystery

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

Reviewed by E B Heath Oh, what a brilliant thought experiment!  Speculative fiction at its best! Readers will be thinking about this premise long after reading the last page. So, so, clever Sweeney-Baird! The above accolades were inspired by Christina Sweeney-Baird’s novel, The End of Men.  The novel takes place in 2025; it features a

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Memoir/Biography

Fury by Kathryn Heyman

Reviewed by Clare Brook We are all familiar with inequality that plagues our society; the grind of everyday life faced by those trapped within a low socio-economic environment.  We are aware of the unequal treatment, and often abuse, that many women suffer.  But there is a big difference between knowing and actually feeling the reality,

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