Dymocks Book of the Year 2022

Dymocks Book of the Year 2022 London-based American writer Bonnie Garmus’s Lessons in Chemistry (Doubleday) has been named Dymocks Book of the Year for 2022. Set in the early 1960s, Garmus’s debut novel follows chemist Elizabeth Zott, who works with an all-male team at Hastings Research Institute who all have a very unscientific view of equality. Except

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Crime/Mystery

Headcase by Jack Heath

Reviewed by Rod McLary ‘Headcase’ is defined by the Urban Dictionary as ‘a crazy, nutty, eccentric person’.  Readers of the Hangman series by Jack Heath and are familiar with the series’ protagonist Timothy Blake would immediately agree that word perfectly describes him.  However, the single use of ‘headcase’ in the novel appears almost at the

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Non-Fiction

ABC of Australian Cricket by Ken Piesse

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Cricket is much more than just a game that we watch. To some it’s a way of life. In the ABC of Australian Cricket Ken Piesse tells some of the stories, real and apocryphal, that demonstrate the love and passion that cricket lovers have for their favourite game. These stories have

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History

Pharaohs of the Sun by Guy De La Bédoyère

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Ancient Egypt has held its fascination despite the passage of time. In fact, this fascination has increased as we move through the twenty-first century. While we like to think that Queen Cleopatra is probably the most remembered Egyptian monarch, she is eclipsed by a predecessor whose name has been on people’s

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Memoir/Biography

Great Australian Places by Graham Seal

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Great Australian Places contains funny, curious and downright astonishing stories from across a big country, so the cover of this book tells me. The cover also depicts travelling in the outback from a time mid last century and has the original Australian lifesaver superimposed on the scene. Inside the book can

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Art/Architecture

Bruno Leti, Series: A Life of Images edited by Thomas Middlemost

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke This hard covered, 240 page, 24x28cm coffee table book has been edited by Thomas Middlemost and contains artwork by Bruno Leti. The Media Release tells me that Leti tends to work in series that hold a continuity and common inspiration similar to that of an artist’s book. It is a longitudinal

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Crime/Mystery

Murder in Williamstown by Kerry Greenwood

Reviewed by Rod McLary Surprisingly – at least to this reviewer – there are dozens of female detectives in literature.  Some who come immediately to mind include Jane Marple, Nancy Drew, Lisbeth Salander [the girl with the dragon tattoo] and Precious Ramotswe from The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, but there are many others.  And

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Children

The Gecko and the Echo by Rachel Bright

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Some very young children, in their exuberant joy of living, are driven by ego and unrestrained pursuit of all they enjoy or interests them. In this story of a gecko, who has a similar failure to consider his fellow geckos, eventually finds he is not popular.  Under the illusion that he

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General Fiction

The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy

Reviewed by Rod McLary The Passenger is the first novel from Cormac McCarthy – one of America’s finest writers – in sixteen years.  His previous novel The Road was published in 2006 and was a post-apocalyptic novel in which an unidentified cataclysmic event destroyed civilization.  The Road won both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and

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General Fiction

Willowman by Inga Simpson

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke The author, Inga Simpson, says that the book came about from a challenge in a 2015 article entitled ‘Just not Cricket: Where are the Great Australian Cricket Novels?’ (401). I must admit I was not immediately drawn to this story as I am not a dedicated cricket fan. However, once I

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Historical Fiction

The Last Gift of the Master Artists by Ben Okri

Reviewed by Ian Lipke This particularly well-written book draws a contrast between Africa prior to, and after, white slavers began to prey on the native population. Yet this is not the prime purpose for which the book was written. While it is important that the author be free to write a tale of fiction, readers

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Crime/Mystery

Livid by Patricia Cornwell

Reviewed by Rod McLary In 1990, Patricia Cornwell in her first book Postmortem introduced the world to Dr Kay Scarpetta – a forensic pathologist.  Thirty-two years later, Dr Scarpetta appears in the 26th book featuring her along with her [now] husband Benton Wesley, her investigator Pete Marino, her niece Lucy and her sister Dorothy with

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Politics

Dreamers and Schemers by Frank Bongiorno

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Professor Frank Bongiorno has produced a political history of Australia by focusing on people types, those he can loosely call dreamers and some that are schemers, the assumption being that individuals fall into one character type or the other. Alternatively, he must argue that those falling outside these typologies must have

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Crime/Mystery

Hands Down by Felix Francis

Reviewed by Gerard Healy This is a racehorse-centred crime novel by Felix Francis, younger son of Dick Francis, the late great exponent of horse-racing mysteries. The central character is Sid Halley, retired champion jockey and investigator of racecourse intrigues. He was a character in four of Dick’s novels, starting with Odds Against (1965) and the

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Memoir/Biography

Dreamer by Dami Im

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Told in the first person, this book covers the life of a young Korean girl who came to Australia for her education and ended up a singing sensation. Eight pages of photographs divide the book into two sections. The first part highlights her life before she reached the grand final of

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