Books & Writing

HANGMAN: RICHER THAN REACHER

Devoured in one sitting is an exaggeration but HANGMAN is certainly an accomplished and compulsive thriller that kept my appetite to return to its banquet of kidnapping and bloody murder.
Richer than Reacher, HANGMAN’s protagonist is a literary kin to Hannibal Lecter, but without the sophistication of sourcing, saucing and sauteing. Continue reading HANGMAN: RICHER THAN REACHER

THE JEWISH JOKE : AN ESSAY WITH EXAMPLES (LESS ESSAY MORE EXAMPLES)

Just in time for Chanukah or if you’re that way inclined, Christmas.

THE JEWISH JOKE: AN ESSAY WITH EXAMPLES (LESS ESSAY, MORE EXAMPLES) gives us historical and cultural essay exemplified by hysterical cultural examples. I’ve been working non start all day to come up with that tautology.

Author Devorah Baum tells us, if Jews love anything, it’s telling the difference. How do you tell the difference is the Jewish question par excellence and the standard question of any number of classical jokes. Continue reading THE JEWISH JOKE : AN ESSAY WITH EXAMPLES (LESS ESSAY MORE EXAMPLES)

NIGELLA RETURNS TO THE HOUSE:TICKETS AVAILABLE FRIDAY

Nigella Lawson fronts sold out crowd at SOH Concert Hall (Photos: Ken Leanfore)

Nigella Lawson: A Celebration of Home Cooking 

Following a sold-out Opera House appearance in 2016, the woman who put the pleasure back into food, Nigella Lawson, returns to the Concert Hall stage on Sunday 21 January 2018 for an evening of delectable conversation.

Nigella’s Opera House appearance coincides with the launch of her first book in two years, At My Table, a celebration of mouth-watering and inventive home cooking. At My Table abounds in recipes that are at once inspirational and comforting, from new riffs on signature dishes to the classics of tomorrow. Continue reading NIGELLA RETURNS TO THE HOUSE:TICKETS AVAILABLE FRIDAY

DEAR LINDY AND THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION

Featured image – Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and Alana Valentine at Dymocks city store. Images by Ben Apfelbaum.

As Lindy mourned the death of her baby daughter Azaria, taken by a dingo from a campsite at Uluru in 1980, she was tried and convicted in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory.

The court of public opinion had already made its ruling, shown in the thousands of hurtful, supportive, accusatory or sympathetic letters Lindy received.

DEAR LINDY revealed the Australian public’s personal and passionate reaction to Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton. Using the letters sent to Lindy throughout her ordeal, author Alana Valentine picks up the story first told in her play Letters to Lindy which was performed to critical acclaim at the Seymour Centre.

Some of the letters are angry and full of prejudice, but most are compassionate and empathetic. With DEAR LINDY, Valentine takes us through Lindy’s emotional journey exploring the 199 boxes of letters housed at the National Library of Australia.

Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and Alana Valentine attended a Dymocks Literary Lunch held in their honour at the Sofitel Wentworth Hotel last Monday 20th November.

HUNTER K SMITH : CREATING WITH A BANG

BOOK REVIEW: 

According to Victor, everyone has their price. But not Lulu! A best-selling author, Lulu reveals to us that with the power of knowledge, we can be the creator of our own experience. From finding a cure for cancer to saving thousands of dollars, Lulu leads us down the path of enlightenment to a healthier, happier life.

Based on real-life events, Creating With A Bang! is a refreshingly different book with a strong message. 

The characters (Carlo, Lulu, George, Hot Henry, The Men in Black, Robot Joe and Victor) live simultaneously in multiple parallel worlds, connected by a higher consciousness. Hunter K. Smith cleverly uses stream of consciousness, bridging their worlds to immerse the reader in a very informative and at times, amusing story. Continue reading HUNTER K SMITH : CREATING WITH A BANG

HEATHER THE TOTALITY: AS ADDICTIVE AS MADMEN

Brevity is the soul of wit. Matthew Weiner‘s debut novel, HEATHER, THE TOTALITY proves it.

Spare, sparse prose that has the shock and shatter of a shared and shining certitude, HEATHER, THE TOTALITY is a coruscating, thin ice skating observation of the modern rink of domestic life.

Late life knot tiers, Mark and Karen have their one and only child, Heather, in their early forties. For all intents and purposes, these three are wholly family, but certainly not a holy one. Continue reading HEATHER THE TOTALITY: AS ADDICTIVE AS MADMEN

SHERLOCK HOLMES THE AUSTRALIAN CASEBOOK-EDITED BY CHRIS SEQUEIRA

A most enjoyable collection of Australian Sherlockian stories as edited and collected by Christopher Sequiera who is renowned internationally for his Holmes-related writings.

Sequiera’s published work includes poetry, prose, and comic-book scripts, including Pulse of Darkness, Rattlebone: The Pulp-Faced Detective and The Borderlander.
It is a selection from both established and emerging writers (better known names include Meg Keneally, Kerry Greenwood and Lucy Sussex).

Other writers include Kaaron Warren, , L.J.M. Owen, T.S.P. Sweeney, J. Scherpenhuizen, Will Schaefer, Robert Veld, Doug Elliott, Philip Cornell, Raymond Gates, Jason Franks, Narrelle M. Harris and Steve Cameron).

The writers imagine the famous detective duo in Australia in 1890, and visiting various locales in all the States and Territories from the outback desert, bush and city . It is not presented in chronological order per se. Continue reading SHERLOCK HOLMES THE AUSTRALIAN CASEBOOK-EDITED BY CHRIS SEQUEIRA

CHRISTOPHER FOWLER : THE BOOK OF FORGOTTEN AUTHORS

A treasure map that is, in and of itself, a treasure trove, THE BOOK OF FORGOTTEN AUTHORS is a resurrectionist text of literary loot too long buried.

Christopher Fowler has given us a literary atlas which empowers us to become a biblio Indiana Jones, a raider of the lost archive.
THE BOOK OF FORGOTTEN AUTHORS is “99 stories and a dozen essays about the men and women who reached for the moon, and found that it wouldn’t always be there.” Continue reading CHRISTOPHER FOWLER : THE BOOK OF FORGOTTEN AUTHORS

TWO KINDS OF TRUTH : ANOTHER ‘GEM’ FROM MICHAEL CONNELLY


If there are two kinds of truth in the realm of detective fiction, both kinds verify Michael Connelly as one of the pre-eminent practitioners of the genre in modern times.

TWO KINDS OF TRUTH is his latest novel, the twentieth to star his stalwart sleuth, Harry Bosch.

TWO KINDS OF TRUTH twines two kinds of stories, one concerning a current case centring on a pharmaceutical conspiracy, the other a devious campaign from a death row rapist murderer who claims Harry framed him thirty years ago. Continue reading TWO KINDS OF TRUTH : ANOTHER ‘GEM’ FROM MICHAEL CONNELLY

DAME BERYL GREY : FOR THE LOVE OF DANCE

Celebrating Dame Beryl’s 90th birthday , this fascinating book was recently released by Oberon Books. It blends the story of twentieth century English ballet told from the point of view of one of its leaders and person memoir. Dame Beryl uses her extensive diaries as a base and also acknowledges the assistance of archivist Jane Pritchard .

Dame Beryl’s life is defined by her love of dance. Both as a ballerina and an Artistic Director she helped make British ballet the world renowned force it is today. Knowing and working with virtually everyone in the dance world, she reveals fascinating insights into the people, characters, and institutions that made up world dance in the 20th century.

Dame Beryl records vividly her relationship with Dame Ninette de Valois, (Madam’s mood changes and temper), and what it was like to work with Wilfred Stiff, John Gilpin and others.

We learn how she managed to navigate the tricky change from ballerina to administrator and leader of a major ballet company. Continue reading DAME BERYL GREY : FOR THE LOVE OF DANCE

The Lost Pages – The Debut Novel by Melbourne writer Marija Peričić

The year is 1908 in the city of Prague. You’ve written your first book. Everyone wants to be near you, touch you, and hear what you the learned writer has to say. Maybe you do have something worthwhile to impart, your literary opinion is in demand and many would-be authors vie for your attention. Your confidence grows as your fame increases, until a handsome, brilliant stranger befriends you, rivalling your talent and self-assurance. That’s when doubt begins to creep in.

Winner of The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award 2017, the debut novel of Melbourne author Marija Peričić is an intriguing interpretation of the relationship of Max Brod and Franz Kafka. THE LOST PAGES  traces the strange and often fractious relationship between mentor (Max Brod) and protégé (Franz Kafka), where love, rivalry, jealousy and paranoia spiral into madness. Continue reading The Lost Pages – The Debut Novel by Melbourne writer Marija Peričić

ALL THE BURNING BRIDGES : STEVE BISLEY’S CAPTIVATING NEW MEMOIR

There’s no Bisley like Steve Bisley, like no Bisley I know.

Missing his first book, Stillways, an oversight I am now committed to correcting, his latest memoir, ALL THE BURNING BRIDGES struck me like a rough diamond bullet of high calibre, cut into a quality carat.

Bisley’s prose can turn on a pin into poetry, not the flowery, floury fluff of doggerel but the flinty, truthful eloquence that comes from a life lived with words, working words, interpreting intent, lifting language from the page onto the stage or screen.

Lively, innovative, inventive and reflective, ALL THE BURNING BRIDGES is filtered through the sieve of memory reinforced by reservoirs of imagination.

From the sweet smell of soot and cinders that accompanied his journey from the family property, Stillways, to the big smoke of Sydney in 1967 to the very present now fifty years later, ALL THE BURNING BRIDGES is a journey of professional combustion and personal conflagration. Continue reading ALL THE BURNING BRIDGES : STEVE BISLEY’S CAPTIVATING NEW MEMOIR

AREK SINANIAN : A CLIMATE FOR DENIAL

‘This thought provoking book shines a light on a range of reasons why people don’t appreciate the urgency of the changes required.’ – John Connor, CEO, The Climate Institute.

This is a deceptively small and light book that asks huge questions about climate change and helps if necessary in opening considered discussions about this extremely important issue.

The book asks why is it that despite overwhelming evidence and fundamental scientific principles, some people still don’t accept that climate change is real and that human activity is contributing to it?! Continue reading AREK SINANIAN : A CLIMATE FOR DENIAL

MY DAD WROTE A PORNO : 2 SELL OUT SHOWS @ THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

From the team who brought you the comedy podcast with currently over 70 million downloads, comes their live show.

My Dad Wrote a Porno is a free online podcast with British hosts Jamie Morton, James Cooper, and Alice Levine. Each week, Jamie reads a chapter from a series of erotic fiction novels entitled Belinda Blinked, while Alice and James react and add in commentary. Belinda Blinked is written by Morton’s Northern Irish father who goes by the pen name Rocky Flintstone. The books centre around Belinda Blumenthal, a sales member of Steeles Pots and Pans. The show has featured episodes with celebrity guests who are fans of the character’s antics within the books. The podcast has just finished the third book in the series.

The live show has just finished its New Zealand and Australia tour but has previously toured around the UK and Ireland and will soon travel to LA and New York. The Sydney Opera House had 2 sold out nights in the Concert Hall. Continue reading MY DAD WROTE A PORNO : 2 SELL OUT SHOWS @ THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

THE LIST : THE DEBUT NOVEL BY MICHAEL BRISSENDEN

Like a brick through a plate glass window, Michael Brissenden’s debut novel, THE LIST, grabs attention, raises the heartbeat, and showers an all encompassing thriller in shards of intrigue, tension and sharp wit.
Sifting through those shards, the shrapnel of evidence, clues, markers and pointers is primarily the job of the Australian Federal Police’s K Block, a unit doing whatever it takes to to stop terrorist attacks on home soil.

The pebble that starts the ripple, the murder and mutilation of young Muslim men on the Terror Watchlist, soon becomes a stone around the neck of investigators. They know it’s a message, but from whom and about what? Is it a serial revenge spree perpetrated by a rogue agent or a harbinger of a greater horror to come? Continue reading THE LIST : THE DEBUT NOVEL BY MICHAEL BRISSENDEN

THE MUMMY BLOGGERS BY HOLLY WAINWRIGHT

Featured photo – Author Holly Wainwright.

If you like your novels sugar coated then read the MUMMY BLOGGERS by Holly Wainwright. Wainwright is the head of entertainment at Mamamia Women’s Network. She is a journalist, writer, editor, podcaster and working mother of two.

The premise of the Mummy Bloggers is simple enough. Three very different mothers devise and hatch plans and strategies in on-line warfare to vie for Blogger of the year at the Blog-aahs awards. There is plenty of drama and deception along the way.  Competition is fierce. It begs the question, at what lengths will some people go to be successful while betraying the public in the process? It highlights the fact that many ordinary people want their day in the spotlight and their fifteen minutes of fame.

The mothers are all deeply flawed individuals who want to measure up to society’s expectations of being high achievers and self-made celebrities. Continue reading THE MUMMY BLOGGERS BY HOLLY WAINWRIGHT

SYDNEY JEWISH WRITERS FESTIVAL 26th and 27th August @ WAVERLEY LIBRARY

The Shalom/Sydney Jewish Writers Festival takes place at Waverley Library in Bondi Junction on 26-27 August 2017.

This year’s guests include Man Booker Prize-nominated novelist Rachel Seiffert in conversation with Australian director Cate Shortland on telling dark stories – in words and on film.

On opening night, Israeli academic, commentator and critic of the occupation of disputed territory Gadi Taub will be debating ‘Israel: From Inside and Out’ with pro-Israel commentator Alexander Ryvchin. The retelling of Holocaust stories – across generations and media – comes under the spotlight with Melbourne musician and writer Bram Presser, head of book publisher Scribe, Henry Rosenbloom and UNSW academic and documentary maker Su Goldfish. Elsewhere in the eclectic program, Mia Freedman, John Safran, Geraldine Doogue, Caroline Baum and many others discuss topics of interest to the Jewish community and beyond.

“Just as you don’t need to be French to enjoy the French Film Festival, you don’t need to be Jewish to enjoy SJWF,” says Festival Director Justine Saidman. “Jewish wisdom teaches that books are more precious than gold and should be treated as companions, their authors as guides. We hope that everyone who attends our Festival this year will be challenged, inspired and invigorated by our offering.”

For more about Sydney Jewish Writers Festival 2017, visit http://www.shalom.edu.au
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UNCLE DYSFUNCTIONAL : UNCOMPROMISING ANSWERS TO LIFE’S MOST PAINFUL PROBLEMS

“In the lacunae of language men and women understand different things about personal boundaries. What men call privacy, women know as secrecy. For men, privacy means not being told stuff that would hurt. For women, secrecy is having stuff go on behind your back.”

This is just a snippet in the well of wisdom that is UNCLE DYSFUNTIONAL, a collection from Esquire’s advice columnist, the late, great, acerbic abolisher of bosh, A A Gill.

Unhaltingly hilarious and unfalteringly funny, unflinchingly unflattering to the foolish followers of the fashion of political correctness, Gill is more likely to sneer and scorn as smile and sympathise, but his scathing analyses of what ails modern humankind is sublimely sage. Continue reading UNCLE DYSFUNCTIONAL : UNCOMPROMISING ANSWERS TO LIFE’S MOST PAINFUL PROBLEMS

DISCOVERING DOBELL : ART CRITIC CHRISTOPHER HEATHCOTE’S NEW PUBLICATION

A large coffee table book, beautifully presented and lavishly illustrated, this is an intriguing book for art lovers brought to us by the excellent Wakefield Press.

Christopher Heathcote is one of Australia’s foremost art critics, has published a number of books on Australian painters, and  is a regular contributor to the current affairs journal Quadrant.

Linked in with the current exhibition at TarraWarra Museum of Art we gain a fascinating insight into the life of Dobell. The book is in effect divided into four sections with a Forward by TarraWarra Museum of Art director, Victoria Lynn. Continue reading DISCOVERING DOBELL : ART CRITIC CHRISTOPHER HEATHCOTE’S NEW PUBLICATION