The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke – Book Review

If you've ever wondered whether Australia actually is a deeply racist nation, then this powerful memoir is for you. It leaves no doubt that answer is yes, all the time, and from almost everyone. From the nasty little girl at Clarke's kindergarten who wouldn't play with the brown girl, to the primary school children who constantly taunted, threatened and mocked, to the teachers and school counselors who told the teenager that it was 'only teasing', Clarke's anger about her treatment lends her prose a searing heat. Maxine Beneba [...]

2018-03-25T00:42:39+11:00October 30th, 2017|Book Review|10 Comments

Book Review: Hunger by Roxane Gay

Hunger is so raw, poignant and compelling that it hurts to read it. At the most superficial level Hunger is a memoir about Roxane Gay's body - specifically her very tall (6'3), very large (200 kgs +) body. Gay details her daily indignities and humiliations as a woman of size moving through a world designed for much smaller people. And if that were all Hunger was about it would probably be enough. But at a deeper level Hunger is really about Gay's mental discomfort. Her shame, her anger, her guilt [...]

2018-03-25T00:55:18+11:00August 18th, 2017|Book Review|4 Comments

Book Review: The Daintree Blockade by Bill Wilkie

What does success look like to an environmental activist? Sometimes success is obvious, like the protests against the Tasmanian Franklin Dam project. The protesters there were directly responsible for preventing the dam from being built and so protected a unique wilderness area. But sometimes success is less obvious. A battle is lost but, in the end, a war is won. Such was the case for the Daintree Blockade of the early 1980s. The Daintree rainforest of far north Queensland is every bit as unique and beautiful as the Tasmanian wilderness. [...]

2018-03-23T01:28:46+11:00June 30th, 2017|Book Review|3 Comments

Book Review: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

A guest post today, from my gorgeous eleven year old daughter Charlie, a competent but reluctant reader who is also "the most faboulousisitst in the world."* When the book arrived in the post I thought that it was just my mum hassling me to read more. But that night when I opened the book to start reading it I actually enjoyed it. The first page was about a mathematician named Ada Lovelace, and I was hooked right away. I think my mum was very surprised when it took [...]

2018-03-25T12:12:10+11:00June 21st, 2017|Book Review|6 Comments

Book Review: ‘Death by Dim Sim’ by Sarah Vincent

Every day at about 3pm Sarah Vincent would get up from her desk at work and haul her 122kg body across the car park to the food van across the way. Every day she would order three dim sims (or four or five) and eat them. And every day as she lumbered back to her desk she would sneer inwardly as she passed the smokers huddled outside the hospital where she worked, with their hospital gowns, and intravenous drips, and missing limbs - all desperate for their nicotine [...]

2018-03-25T01:14:28+11:00April 21st, 2017|Book Review|0 Comments

Book Review: Hippy Days, Arabian Nights by Katherine Boland

Have you ever sat uneasily next to a talkative stranger at a function, only to find yourself mesmerised by their life story? Amazed by the crazy things they've done, dubious at their poor choices, and wincing a little when they shared a little too much intimate information? Katherine Boland's memoir is just such a rollicking ride. And I have the feeling she's never going to look back on her life and wonder if she should have chosen the road less travelled - she's followed her heart rather than her head [...]

2018-03-24T01:23:07+11:00April 8th, 2017|Book Review|6 Comments

Death by Dim Sim

Stopped by Readings Books in Carlton today to pick up a copy of my friend's newly released memoir: Death by Dim Sim. So exciting to see it on the shelf. You should buy a copy too. Here's the blurb from the back cover. Sarah Vincent once tipped the scales at 122 kilos. She worked at the back of a hospital making calls and answering emails, but at three o'clock every afternoon she would answer a very special call - the call of the dim sim. Running the gauntlet of [...]

2018-03-25T01:19:20+11:00March 2nd, 2017|Book Review|5 Comments

Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance – Book Review

J.D. Vance is a young American white man who grew up poor. Hillbilly Elegy, his memoir and exploration of the US's white working class, is probably going to be one of my best books of 2017. Yep, I'm calling it early. Looking for work and better prospects, JD's hillbilly grandparents moved from the mountains of Kentucky about three hours north to Ohio, where they lived in a town with a name that would be too ridiculous to use in a novel: Middletown. In Middletown JD's mother was born, raised, educated [...]

2018-03-24T01:55:18+11:00January 18th, 2017|Book Review|2 Comments

Best Reads 2016

Hmmm. It turns out that in 2016 I only read about one book per week. 52 books; 41 of them written by women; 31 of them fiction. Which didn’t seem like enough until I remembered that I (usually) only read in bed, at night, and that sometimes exhaustion wins out over literary merit… Or, as seems to be the case this year, exhaustion won out over any sort of merit at all! I’m afraid my literary diet for 2016 was chock full of sweet nothings, lots of easy reading and [...]

2018-03-21T14:54:24+11:00January 3rd, 2017|Book Review|10 Comments

Eat Your History by Jacqui Newling – Review and Interview

Hands up if you love to cook? Keep your hand up if you are interested in Australian history? Still with me?  Then do I have the perfect book for you (or for someone you know - Christmas is just around the corner and books are ever so easy to wrap...) Eat Your History: stories and recipes from Australian kitchens is a wonderful, and very beautiful, collection of recipes, social history and historical insights. According to the author, "This book invites you to share forgotten tastes and lost techniques, and rediscover [...]

2018-03-24T02:15:05+11:00December 16th, 2016|Book Review, Colonial History|3 Comments
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