Reviews

Children

The Wizard in my Shed by Simon Farnaby

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Not being familiar with Simon Farnaby’s Paddington 2 movie or The Horrible Histories series, I came to read The Misadventures of Merdyn the Wild with no preconceived notions. On reading chapter one, I could just imagine an adult reading this story to a younger child and them both enjoying it immensely.

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General Fiction

The Silence by Don DeLillo

Reviewed by Rod McLary While Don DeLillo would reject such a classification, it is generally thought that his novels are postmodernist in that they explore postmodern themes such as ‘rampant consumerism, underground conspiracies and the promise of rebirth through violence’.  His latest novel The Silence is no different – its primary theme is the breakdown

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Memoir/Biography

Courage Under Fire by Daniel Keighran VC

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Dan Keighran’s book contains one of those stories that we treasure, one we keep coming back to when we think that life is tough. It is the story of a little boy who slept in the dirt but grew to be a man of principle to whom service to others was

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History

Breaker Morant by Peter FitzSimons

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The cover of Breaker Morant reveals that Peter Fitzsimons is Australia’s bestselling non-fiction writer as well as Australia’s greatest storyteller. Grand statements, indeed. (I wonder what Henry Lawson might have thought!) Readers, however casual, cannot fail to see the thirty pages of Endnotes, the five-page bibliography, and the twelve-page index, each

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Non-Fiction

On Money by Rick Morton

Reviewed by Gerard Healy An interesting take, by journalist Rick Morton, on what happens when you grow up WITHOUT money. From his very personal experiences, Rick explains how life treats the poor and the not-so-poor in our society. It’s probably among only a handful of books on finance written from the lack-of-money perspective and it’s

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General Fiction

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Australian writer, Sally Hepworth’s latest book is about sisters, twins, their relationship, and their identity, themes which she tackles very well. In this case it is about sibling dependency. The book tells the reader of the life of the Castle twins. The title of the book, The Good Sister, implies that

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General Fiction

The Dressmaker’s Secret by Rosalie Ham

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke With her latest novel, Rosalie Ham is hoping to latch onto the success of her earlier novel, The Dressmaker, which was made into the acclaimed movie of the same name starring Kate Winslet. The cover of her new book states ‘She’s back!’ in dark blue on the bright yellow cover. This

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Health/Medicine

Healing Lives by Sue Williams

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve In March this year as Covid 19 began to grip the world, Dr Catherine Hamlin, famous internationally, died in a hospital in Ethiopia aged 96.  All those whose lives were touched by her mourned the loss of this woman who was loved for her contribution to women’s health while possessing most

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Memoir/Biography

Max by Alex Miller

Reviewed by Rod McLary In his previous book The Passage of Love, Alex Miller wrote a fictionalised memoir.  In that book, he speaks of Martin Bloch – a close friend who encouraged him in his writing.  The Passage of Love was reviewed in these pages in April 2018. The fictionalised Martin Bloch in the previous

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Memoir/Biography

Out of Copley Street by Geoff Goodfellow

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Out of Copley Street is a collection of short stories featuring the working-class boyhood of Geoff Goodfellow. He is better known for his poetry giving voice to the anger of the disenfranchised. He usually presented his poetry on building sites, in factories and in prisons. The book is dedicated to one

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History

France before 1789: The Unraveling of an Absolutist Regime by Jon Elster

Reviewed by Ian Lipke In his book, L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution (1856) Alexis de Tocqueville  claimed that the French Revolution (1789–1799) was never intended to change the whole nature of traditional society. It was not interested in tearing down all forms of the ancien régime or in creating a state of permanent disorder. He argued a theory

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Children

The 130-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve In the days before Covid 19, and if you were lucky enough to participate in a Writers’ Festival, as I was, you will be struck by the crowds of devoted children, accompanied by equally enthusiastic parents hanging on every word spoken by Andy Griffiths.  Sessions involving him and Terry Dent unfailingly

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Memoir/Biography

Agent Sonya by Ben Macintyre

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It doesn’t happen often, but just occasionally, with no warning whatsoever, along comes a book in an unprepossessing cover, that just glows with quality. It does not dazzle; it begins in a very ordinary way but, within a few pages, you know you will not put it down until the very

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Health/Wellbeing

My Year of Living Mindfully by Shannon Harvey

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders Anyone who spends a year doing something then writes a book about it, risks being placed in the same genre as British expats who move to Provence or Tuscany and regale us with tales of French plumbers and Italian cooking classes. Despite some initial trepidation about My Year of Living Mindfully,

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Children

Rudie Nudie Christmas by Emma Quay

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve What a pleasure to review Rudie Nudie Christmas, a charming book for toddlers which captures the excitement of the night before December the 25th.  It beautifully depicts how the preparations for the visit by Santa can make a routine like bath time a long drawn out activity. Links are made to

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