April 2023

The Stella Prize 2023

The Stella Prize 2023 Through a series of strategic initiatives, Stella strives to promote books by Australian women and non-binary writers, support greater participation in the world of literature, and create a more equitable and vibrant national culture. We do this by: At Stella, we know women need two precious resources to write: time and

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Environment

The Nutmeg’s Curse by Amitav Ghosh

Reviewed by Andy Fuller It all starts from a noise: startled Dutchmen sense their vulnerability in the distant Eastern Indonesian island of Lonthor, one thing leads to another and they soon seek to wipe them out from their homeland. The Dutch were seeking to establish a monopoly on the trade of nutmeg: one of the

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General Fiction

The Stolen Hours by Karen Swan

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Karen Swan’s five part historical series, identified as the Wild Isle series, is based upon the dramatic evacuation of the Scottish island St Kilda in the summer of 1930. This may be the reason for the air of authenticity that accompanies the book. It is the summer of 1929 and Mhairi

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Politics

Consent of the People by David Kemp

Reviewed by Richard Tutin It could be assumed that David Kemp has produced a history or critical examination of democracy as practised in Australia. As we get deeper into the text, we find that he has done this and more. Kemp’s experience and expertise as a political scientist, member of Federal parliament, Cabinet minister and

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Crime/Mystery

Home Before Night by J. P. Pomare

Reviewed by Rod McLary Home Before Night is JP Pomare’s sixth novel and, like the author’s previous books, it contains at its heart a dark secret.  Lou and Marko are driving home from an engagement party.  Marko is driving, clearly too drunk to be doing so, and an accident occurs involving a cyclist.  They leave

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General Fiction

Dust Child by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Thousands of Australians visit Vietnam each year, and many do so repeatedly. They are charmed by the beauty of the people and the landscape. Many would recall the horror of the Vietnam war, perhaps were demonstrating in the 70s to end the senseless carnage. Few are aware of the enduring plight

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Crime/Mystery

Robert Ludlum’s The Treadstone Rendition by Joshua Hood

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Alpha Team was sucking gas. That is the full extent of the introduction to this chapter. It is all that is needed. Every sign that a battle is to occur, and many lives will be put at risk. The chapter is representative of the book. This is a rather simple piece

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ABIA Awards 2023

The shortlists for the 2023 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) have been announced. The shortlisted books in two of the categories are: General fiction book of the year Dirt Town (Hayley Scrivenor, Macmillan)  * The Tilt (Chris Hammer, A&U)  * Exiles (Jane Harper, Macmillan)  * Day’s End (Garry Disher, Text) Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone (Benjamin Stevenson, Michael

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Health/Wellbeing

Built to Move by Kelly Starrett and Juliet Starrett

Reviewed by Gail McDonald Dr Kelly Starrett is the cofounder of The Ready State and San Francisco CrossFit. He wrote Becoming a Supple Leopard, Ready to Run and the Wall Street Journal best seller Deskbound. Dr Starrett consults with athletes and coaches from various sports and Olympic teams, Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard forces

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True Crime

Ghosts of the Orphanage by Christine Kenneally

Reviewed by Rod McLary In this meticulously investigated exposé of the secret history of Catholic orphanages, Christine Kenneally lays bare the shameful and destructive actions of certain Catholic nuns and priests to the children in their care – and the consequent denials and obfuscations of the Catholic Church. While the author focuses on St Joseph’s

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Literary Quiz and Answers

Our last Literacy Quiz was asking for the creators of fictional detectives/police officers/sleuths.  Here are the answers. Commander Adam Dalgleish P D James Caleb Zelic Emma Viskic Inspector Morse Colin Dexter Miss Marple Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot Agatha Christie Inspector John Rebus Ian Rankin Aaron Falk Jane Harper Inspector Karen Pirie Val McDermid Temperance Brennan

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Crime/Mystery

Standing in the Shadows by Peter Robinson

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve A friend who, at the wonderful age of 102, has been a lifelong avid reader, cites Inspector Alan Banks’s exploits as her greatest pleasure. She has read all previous 27 novels. Now that she can no longer see….what a terrible affliction for a reader!….she listens to audio books of Peter Robinson’s

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General Fiction

The Last Days of Joy by Anne Tiernan

Reviewed by Gail McDonald The Last Days of Joy is Anne Tiernan’s debut novel. Anne centred the book in Tauranga in New Zealand where she lives with her husband. Anne was born in Zambia and grew up in a small town near Dublin. She studied English Literature and Psychology at Trinity College. This was a

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Children

the quiet and the loud by Helena Fox

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Helena Fox has written a book called the quiet and the loud. This tells the story of a little girl called George who is autistic. The story begins with a strange happening, where George’s father, on a camping trip, takes her into the middle of a lake, slips overboard and swims

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General Fiction

Stolen by Ann-Helén Laestadius

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Occasionally, in some popular Scandinavian television series, the  Nordic indigenous minority, the Sami, appear.  Stolen is a gripping account of life in the tundra of northern Sweden, where a group of Sami live in a small village. Reindeer are an integral part of their lives; their knowledge of the herds’ ways,

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