September 2021

Children

The Australian Climate Change Book by Polly Marsden

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke This book deserves a place in all primary schools in Australia as it introduces concepts, not only important for Australia and the world today, but issues which will need to be addressed well into the future. It is presented as a sturdy, colourful, hard covered 27x27cm book using good quality paper

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Voss Literary Prize 2021

The longlist for the Voss Literary Prize 2021 has been announced. Robbie Arnott, The Rain Heron (Text Publishing) Trent Dalton, All Our Shimmering Skies (HarperCollins) * Kate Grenville, A Room Made of Leaves (Text Publishing) Erin Hortle, The Octopus and I (Allen & Unwin) * Julie Janson, Benevolence (Magabala Books) Gail Jones, Our Shadows (Text Publishing) Amanda Lohrey, The Labyrinth (Text Publishing) Vivian Pham, The Coconut Children  (Penguin Books) Mirandi

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History

Too Much Cabbage and Jesus Christ by Catherine Bishop

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The arresting title of this book comes from a 1928 account of an Aboriginal job applicant who had ‘escaped’ from Annie Lock’s mission because there was ‘too much Jesus Christ and cabbage.’ This is an indication of how cautious one must be in examining Annie Lock’s work in the missions. Sources

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Children

Noni the Pony Counts to a Million by Alison Lester

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve When I see books like the Noni series, I cannot but wish such gems had been available when I was a child. Today there is a wealth of wonderful children’s books; offerings for all, from babies to young adults. It is the much-loved books by Alison Lester that justly belong to

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Crime/Mystery

April in Spain by John Banville

Reviewed by Rod McLary The first two sentences of this new book – ‘Terry Tice liked killing people.  It was as simple as that’ [3] – immediately draws the reader into April in Spain the latest crime novel by John Banville; now writing under his own name rather than under Benjamin Black.  The title of

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General Fiction

Frontline by Dr Hilary Jones

Reviewed by Ian Lipke With some reservations, I endorse Hilary Jones’s Frontline as one of the best wartime stories that have appeared in the last decade. It is set in the years when men and women staggered through the dangers of World War 1 and tells of life in the trenches and at home. Its

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Business/Finance

Rescue: From Global Crisis to a Better World by Ian Goldin

Review by Richard Tutin The global community has regarded the effects of the current Covid-19 pandemic with great fear. Concerns about the future have dominated news broadcasts and commentaries over the past eighteen months. This fear has not been frivolous. People, nations and businesses have suffered and will continue to suffer for the foreseeable future.

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Self Help

The Sunny Nihilist by Wendy Syfret

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend Well, I can’t help but think Friedrich Nietzsche would be chuffed! I imagine him sitting in his hereafter, one that he totally did not believe in, hearing that Wendy Syfret is busy reinstating his nihilist philosophy, and making a much better job of it than the Nazi regime. Reading The Sunny

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Crime/Mystery

The Dark Remains by William McIlvanney, Ian Rankin

Reviewed by Gerard Healy A terrific Scottish crime story from William McIlvanney and Ian Rankin about a murder in Glasgow in 1972 and the fictional beginning of maverick detective Jack Laidlaw’s career. I am a long-time fan of Ian Rankin and his John Rebus stories but to be honest, I hadn’t heard of McIlvanney (who

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Young Adult

It’s Not You, It’s Me by Gabrielle Williams

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend Just when you might have thought the time travel, body exchange trope had, through sheer over use, ground itself into the nearest literary grave – it’s back.  And, I loved it!   Why?  Well, to paraphrase William S, it’s all about hope springing eternal in young adult fiction. In It’s Not You,

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General Fiction

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve A green-eyed talking ginger tabby is a quirky character to steer the reader’s attention into considering the value, importance and power of books. Fantasy, colourful and intriguing, equips a narrative that is both charming and thought provoking. Besides this well-read, even philosophical feline, who is able to quote from The Little

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Memoir/Biography

Malachy by Dominic Frawley

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Malachy is very difficult to read at times, as a reader’s tears blur the text which beautifully relates the birth and subsequent traumas baby Malachy and his family endured. Impossible not to be moved by the shock of realising that the little newborn is not facing a joyous childhood, carefree and

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Booker Prize 2021 – Shortlist

The final shortlist of six novels has been revealed for this year’s Booker Prize. As always, the lucky winners will be the readers. The final six includes debut novelist Patricia Lockwood with No One Is Talking About This. Damon Galgut makes the list for the third time with The Promise, and Richard Powers makes his second shortlist

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General Fiction

The Kindness of Birds by Merlinda Bobis

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The art work on its cover accompanied by a line of music with lyrics reading “It moves both ways And all ways – like breath” is a perfect intimation of the book’s content. The writer devoted much of the fourteen chapters to both the impact and importance of kindness, as essential

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Environment

Wounded Country by Quentin Beresford

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Inverell farmer and political lobbyist, Mal Peters, ‘talks the talk’ that politicians and bureaucrats have to hear if the Murray-Darling River basin is ever to be returned to its days of continued health. It is a very sick place. Peters explodes when talk of another reform process is mooted: …the Australian

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