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Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Book Reviews

March 5, 2016


Clancy Tucker
ISBN: 9780646932262
95 pp
Clancy Tucker Publishing 2015

Clancy Tucker has written a delightful story of a teenage girl overcoming adversity.  Rida is an immigrant, a Muslim, and is bullied at school because of the way she looks and because she is regarded as a nerd.  She doesn’t fit in because she stands out.  In the process of trying to avoid her tormentors, she meets people who assist her in unexpected ways.

Rida also meets Ky, another girl who doesn’t fit in and who has a secret that eventually turns Rida’s life around completely.   This is a narrative very much of our time, dealing with issues of xenophobia and prejudice and how various people deal with these. (more…)

Book Reviews

Between You and Me

between_you_and_me_cover-200pxBetween You and Me : confessions of a comma queen
Mary Norris
ISBN: 9781925240993
203 pp plus index, notes and bibliography
Text Publishing  2015

Much as I love delving into language and grammar, I would not ordinarily pick up an autobiography of a copy editor; but the subtitle grabbed my attention and piqued my interest.

This is not so much an autobiography as a collection of anecdotes and accounts of those who work in this field, sprinkled with examples of good and bad use of language and its grammar with an ultimate shrug of the shoulders, as if to say: Who gives a flying duck?  The ebb and flow of this entertaining work reminds me of the writings of Bill Bryson – musings more than exposition. (more…)

Book Reviews

December 18, 2015

Cold Faith

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cold_faith_cover_200pxCold Faith
Shaune Lafferty Webb
Hague Publishing  2015
ISBN: 9780992543723
221 pp

It seems that a large selection of the books offered to YA readers continue to be post-apocalyptic. Why is this? Are authors trying to prepare young people for ‘real’ life or are there other, deeper meanings in all this?

Having young people be heroes has always been possible in a ‘normal’, though somewhat fanciful world: series such as The Secret Seven and Swallows and Amazons. In these, Enid Blyton still had functioning adults in the background, even if they did not form part of the adventures. The more modern offerings appear to paint worlds in which the adults have lost the plot and the young people have taken it upon themselves or are charged with the responsibility to find solutions. This is the case in The Hunger Games, the Divergent trilogy, the Matched trilogy and even in the Harry Potter series. At least Harry Potter and his friends receive training in survival skills from some of the adults around. (more…)

Book Reviews

March 25, 2012

Dirty Fracking Business

Dirty Fracking Business
Peter Ralph
Melbourne Books  2012
ISBN: 9781877096228
272 pp

I need to declare, at the outset, that I edited this book for the author in preparation for publication.  I also need to say that I am, on current evidence, opposed to the uncontrolled exploration for and extraction of coal seam gas, the subject of this novel.  I will therefore aim to limit my review of the book to the merits of the book as a work of art.

Peter Ralph has taken a topic about which there is heated debate in at least Queensland and New South Wales (and parts of the USA) and he has written a barely-disguised fiction: names of individuals and corporations have been changed, although, in some cases, only minimally.  He has turned something that is controversial to many people into a gripping drama.


Book Reviews

March 5, 2012

A Tiger in Eden

A Tiger in Eden
Chris Flynn
Text Publishing  2012
ISBN: 9781921922039
215 pp

Anyone who has heard about this book will know that it is a rollicking, raucous and bawdy tale.  But that is not what this book is about.  It is Chris Flynn’s debut ‘novel’, but the term ‘novel’ gives us no inkling of the content, structure or style of the book.  It is impossible to categorise and hard to describe.


Book Reviews

February 27, 2012

Her Father’s Daughter

Her Father’s Daughter
Alice Pung
Black Inc Publishing  2011
ISBN: 9781863955423
238 pp

Having just finished reading this book, I feel that I have been allowed to be an intruder in a family home.  It is an autobiography written as a third person account, but it is very personal and revealing of the characters in the stories.


Book Reviews

January 30, 2012

Superfood Snacks

Superfood Snacks to reignite your love affair with foods
Author: Christine Margaret
Publisher: Christine Margaret, 2011
ISBN: 9780980489385
200 pp including index
RRP $19.95 (on-line)

In my experience, this is a unique book.  It is part cookbook, part dietary compendium, part nutritional encyclopaedia.  It was created out of a need for Christine Margaret to find a way of ridding herself of fibromyalgia syndrome.


Book Reviews

December 18, 2011

Tell Me the Truth

Tell me The Truth: conversations with my patients about life and death
Author: Ranjana Srivastava
Publisher: Penguin/Viking, 2010
ISBN: 9780670074402
RRP $32.95

This is a rare book and the author is a rare physician.  Ranjana Srivastava is an oncologist working in Melbourne.  She questions what she does and how she does it and strives to relate to her patients and their families with honesty and compassion.  The title of the book reflects what many patients ask of her.


Book Reviews

December 4, 2011

Not the Last Goodbye

Not the Last Goodbye: on life, death, healing and cancer
David Servan-Schreiber
Scribe Publishing  2011
ISBN: 9781921844447
144 pp

As it turns out, this book is the last goodbye from author David Servan-Schreiber.  He wrote it during his tussle with brain cancer which had returned after many years.  Servan-Schreiber was author of the book Anticancer: a new way of life (Viking, 2009) and was spokesperson for the Anticancer program; this played an important role in his approach to dealing with his illness.


Book Reviews

November 20, 2011

A Mother’s Final Gift

A Mother’s Final Gift
Joyce & Barry Vissell
Ramira Publishing
ISBN: 9780961272036
218 pp

The ‘gift’ that is the subject of this book was originally a very personal one.  The authors, especially Joyce Vissell, have turned this into a gift to all readers of the book.  Those readers who find their lives transformed by it, can perpetuate the giving.