October 2022

Memoir/Biography

The Naturalist by Brendan Atkins

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The Naturalist tells the story of Allan Riverstone McCulloch, who worked for the Australian Museum across the decades leading to 1925. McCulloch was immensely talented. He was scientifically able, demonstrated artistic talents way above the ordinary, and possessed organisational skills that were a credit to his department. He wore the badge

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General Fiction

Forever Home by Graham Norton

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke This book is the third novel written by one of the UK’s most treasured comedians and presenters. He hosts The Graham Norton Show on BBC1, a show on BBC Radio 2 every Saturday and is a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. The story Forever Home is not a comedy unless

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Crime/Mystery

The Resemblance by Lauren Nossett

Reviewed by Rod McLary ‘Hazing’ is a peculiarly American phenomenon intended to be a ceremony for initiating new members into a college fraternity by subjecting them to humiliating or difficult tasks.  It may be thought that hazing is a relatively new phenomenon but it dates back many hundreds of years.  Its longevity goes some way

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Historical Fiction

Call of Empire by Peter Watt

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Peter Watt has experienced many avenues of life. He has been a soldier, articled clerk to a solicitor, prawn trawler deckhand, builder’s labourer, pipe layer, real estate salesman, private investigator, police sergeant and adviser to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. The diversity of his career is reflected in his writing

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Non-Fiction

What Just Happened?! by Marina Hyde

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend  Chinese curse:  May you live in interesting times. Humour is a non-contact sport in Britain, I think they are pushing for it to be included in the Olympics, in which case Marina Hyde will certainly win gold.  I haven’t relished reading political and cultural commentary so much since the late, very

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History

The Shipwreck by Larry Writer

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Australia is home to over eight thousand shipwrecks around its coastline. This staggering number asserts the important role ships have played in bringing people, goods and services to our shores especially when European settlement began in 1788. One of the greatest maritime disasters that Australia had to face was the wrecking

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General Fiction

Best of Friends by Kamila Shamsie

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Kamila Shamsie’s stunning new novel is an unflinching depiction of the changing friendship between two girls, Maryam Khan and Zahra Ali, who are going to school in Karachi. Their lives are brightened by books, videos and music. They had met for the first time in a bookshop when they had simultaneously

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Crime/Mystery

Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Sacrifice by Brian Freeman

Reviewed by Gerard Healy Robert Ludlum created the Jason Bourne character and wrote three books featuring him before his death in 2001. Other authors, including Brian Freeman, have taken up the task of extending Bourne’s fictional life. This book is Freeman’s third Jason Bourne story (and numbers 15,16 and 17 in the whole series). And

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General Fiction

Keeping Up Appearances by Tricia Stringer

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke No – this has nothing to do with the British sitcom about Hyacinth Bucket. This story is about what we all do to some extent, some more than others, at some stage in our lives. If you are lucky enough to be a parent, it’s a lifetime journey. The book begins

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Crime/Mystery

A Heart Full of Headstones by Ian Rankin

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Ian Rankin is at it again. His stalwart, now-retired detective John Rebus holds sway over all the cunning he has learnt over many years as one of Scotland’s finest in producing a gripping story that strikes all the high spots. Fine entertainment, I say! Was I shocked that Rebus would take

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Crime/Mystery

Long Shadows by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Ian Lipke One of the less successful of David Baldacci’s characters is FBI agent Amos Decker who, faced by difficult plots, manages to solve the murders that always eventuate. Baldacci invokes the condition of hypermythesia, which grants Decker ‘superpowers’ particularly of vision. Invoking these superpowers gives Decker a step ahead of his colleagues.

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Children

The Raven’s Song by Zana Fraillon and Bren MacDibble

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The Raven’s Song is evidence of the range, quality and stimulating puzzles that may be found in current children’s fiction. Everything is far from straightforward. In a world that is 100 years from now, characters Shelby and Davy live on 700 hectares, carefully tended by its strictly numbered population of 350.

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General Fiction

Moon Sugar by Angela Meyer

Reviewed by Rod McLary There are some novels which defy an easy classification – and Moon Sugar is one such novel.  Is it science fiction, magic realism, a crime story or a romance?  In some ways, it is all of these.  It is a creative genre-bending novel which engages the reader from this sentence in

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Memoir/Biography

Muster Dogs by Aticia Grey

Reviewed by Claire Brook First time author, Aticia Grey, writes an account of her life on the land, learning how to train Australian Kelpies under the tutelage of Neil McDonald.  Aticia and her dog Gossip Girl appeared in the ABC television programme, Muster Dogs, in 2020. Along with four other farming families, Aticia took on

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Memoir/Biography

Sex, Drugs and a Buddhist Monk by Luke Kennedy

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend Like a sponge, a child soaks up other people’s realities.  The blank canvass of life is painted on by another’s brush. (p. 257) The front cover and title, Sex, Drugs and a Buddhist Monk, along with a run-on sub title: A stepping stone towards a silent mind, really does give the

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