March 2022

Memoir/Biography

Under a Venice Moon by Margaret Cameron

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Margaret Cameron is new to sharing her work, but a brief conversation with a friend, who remarked that she’d seen it all and she could write a book, changed everything. As the author recalls, the assertion arrived like a wind-blown leaf in an overgrown conversational garden. I decided to write that

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Self Help

Toxic Positivity by Whitney Goodman

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Until I read this book, I had little idea that being positive could be so toxic. Psychotherapist Whitney Goodman argues that sometimes being totally positive can damage people, especially those whose self-esteem are at a low ebb in a particular moment. We are confronted on a daily basis through media and

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Non-Fiction

Fishing in the Good Old Days by Bob Kearney

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Fishing is a popular past time in Australia. Recreational fishing has really taken off in recent years. Television programmes sponsored by stores selling the right tackle and equipment are big right now as is the sale of boats to enable those fishing to reach their favourite spots. Through his book, Bob

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Historical Fiction

The Colony by Audrey Magee

Reviewed by Ian Lipke A first encounter with The Colony has the effect of causing a reviewer to shudder at the combinations of logic and mythology that he faces. Consider the following: The island visited by Mr Lloyd is small, measuring only three miles by half a mile. One immediately suspects that a small island

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Historical Fiction

Angels of the Pacific by Elise Hooper

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Elise Hooper’s book is one of the better versions of the stories told by the American publishing industry that relate to brave American nurses in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation during World War II. It suffers from the usual practice of presenting either incomplete knowledge of Australian activities in the

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ABIA Longlists 2022

ABIA Longlists 2022  The longlists for the 2022 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) have been announced. The ABIA longlists were selected by the ABIA Academy, which comprises over 250 industry representatives. The shortlists will be announced on 23 May, with the winners in each category, as well as the winners of the Lloyd O’Neill Hall

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Politics

The Gospel According to Paul by Jonathan Biggins

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Jonathan Biggins presents a two-part work that varies in its components as chalk from cheese. The first ninety-nine pages are based roughly on the Old Testament but only in terms of structure since any comparison with the books of the Bible disappears the moment it is proposed. The first part is

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Literature

Everything and Less by Mark McGurl

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Fiction writing has a long history. The novel has been the main stay of many a library, book exchange and store. Many films have been based on the stories fiction writers have weaved. Humanity has grown to love these and other stories because they have been a vehicle through which traditions,

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Crime/Mystery

Banjawarn by Josh Kemp

Reviewed by Rod McLary Gothic literature has been part of the literary canon since the eighteenth century.  Common elements include dark and picturesque scenery, startling and melodramatic literary devices and an overall feeling of mystery, fear and dread.  A further element – especially apposite in relation to this novel – is the intrusion of the

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Indie Book Awards 2022

The Indies are considered the forerunners of all major Australian book awards. Since the Awards inception in 2008, the Indies have a well-deserved reputation for picking the best of the best in Australian writing. Past Book of the Year winners have gone on to be bestsellers and win other major literary awards. Previous winners include:

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Non-Fiction

Sounds Wild and Broken by David George Haskell

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Every now and then a book comes along that makes you want to read and read, forgetting all other responsibilities in the enjoyment of the task. Such a book is David Haskell’s Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution’s Creativity and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction. Haskell takes us back to

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Poetry

Continuous Creation by Les Murray

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Australian poet Les Murray’s poems can be read as reflective of his own life views, his original outlook on social issues such as homelessness, and the importance of rural Australian culture. Natural sacramentalism and the significance of ordinary lives, as shown in An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow and Spring Hail, are common

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General Fiction

Mother’s Boy by Patrick Gale

Reviewed by Rod McLary Keep yourself to yourself [Charles Causley]. This line of poetry, quoted in the epigraph to Mother’s Boy, was written by Charles Causley – a poet born in the small town of Launceston in Cornwall – and is indicative of his life in that he was a very private person.  The line

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General Fiction

Goodnight, Vivienne, Goodnight by Steven Carroll

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Steven Carroll has taken fragments from the facts concerning the tortured life of TS Eliot’s first wife, Vivienne Haigh-Wood, to weave a masterly restructuring of her life. Until the publication of her diaries this year, it was maintained that she suffered serious mental illness all her life, inflicted damage to her

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Young Adult

That Thing I Did by Allayne L. Webster

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend Concepts planted in our psyche through music and other media unconsciously inform what we create. p. 278 A master class in presenting serious themes with a feather light touch.   And so very funny! Allayne Webster’s That Thing I Did has all the elements of an intriguing young-adult novel – four young

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