Bronte Coates

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Bronte Coates is the Digital Content Coordinator. She is also the Prize Manager for the Readings New Australian Writing Award and the Grants Officer for the Readings Foundation. She is a co-founder of literary project, Stilts.

Reviews

Life Moves Pretty Fast by Hadley Freeman

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

If you’re looking for something fun and frothy to read as you snuggle under the doona this winter, Life Moves Pretty Fast would be an ideal pick. Hadley Freeman’s personalised handbook to North Ameri…

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Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Funny, gruesome and thought-provoking, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is Caitlin Doughty’s candid account of her early experiences working with dead bodies, first as a crematorium operator and then at morti…

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The Green Road by Anne Enright

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

The latest novel from Man Booker Prize-winning author Anne Enright is a gorgeously raw and expansive examination of the Madigan family. Sprawling thirty years, The Green Road follows the four childre…

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Mothermorphosis edited by Monica Dux

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Religion, politics and money are usually cited as the top three topics to avoid at a dinner party, but surely parenthood trumps them all. To the uninitiated, the mysterious world of ‘tummy time’, ‘co…

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On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Eula Biss’s elegant examination of our fear of vaccination opens with Achilles being dipped into the River Styx and closes with the metaphor of a garden. In between, Biss talks about milkmaids and sc…

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Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels are relentless and ferocious, and wholly absorbing. With each new book, the story of Elena Greco and her friend, Lina Cerullo, intensifies, and in Those Who Leave a

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How to be Both by Ali Smith

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Two dual narratives form Ali Smith’s new novel. In one, George is a teenage girl grieving the sudden death of her mother and starting to explore her sexuality. In the other, Francesco is an Italian r…

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Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Reading Sonya Hartnett’s Golden Boys is unnerving, an experience akin to treading deep water. Everything above the surface appears calm, but there’s the lingering sensation that anything could be lur…

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Upstairs at the Party by Linda Grant

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

The new book from the Orange Prize-winning, and Man Booker Prize-shortlisted, novelist Linda Grant is joyously bold. Our narrator Adele opens with: ‘If you go back and look at your life there are cer…

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Only The Animals by Ceridwen Dovey

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

The animals who narrate the stories in Ceridwen Dovey’s collection have each been killed during a human conflict of the past century: Himmler’s dog is abandoned in the woods; a bear starves to death …

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The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Here, Meg Wolitzer has given us a delicious, utterly absorbing novel of epic scope, concerning six characters who meet as teenagers in 1974 at an exclusive summer arts camp. They ironically refer to …

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Bark by Lorrie Moore

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Lorrie Moore fans rejoice. Her first new collection of stories in 15 years is here and reading it will remind you of why you fell in love with her corrosive wit in the first place. Darker and more ov…

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Stories We Tell by Sarah Polley

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Canadian writer and director Sarah Polley has created a tender and unforgettable love letter to her parents with this documentary, a pastiche of dramatised retellings and ‘home videos’, genuine archi…

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Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Shot over just twelve days at Joss Whedon’s own home, Shakespeare’s classic comedy of sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick (and sappy lovers Claudio and Hero) is given a modern twist in this film th…

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Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes by Per Petterson

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Norwegian novelist Per Petterson writes beautifully – his prose slicing across the page in swift, clean strokes – and now English readers can take pleasure in his literary debut. First published in 1…

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This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

In 2011 I saw Ann Patchett speak at the Brisbane Writers Festival. The Orange Prize-winning author was tremendous on stage: funny and smart, teeming with confidence, she seemed to have a natural grac…

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The Electric Lady by Janelle Monáe

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

I’m crushing so hard on this album at the moment. Janelle Monáe’s music is fun and inventive and even though I know it’s too early to say this - I have a sneaking suspicion The Electric Lady is going…

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The Hunt by Thomas Vinterberg

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

While I cry easily in films, I can attest to the fact that there are few which can somehow persuade me to curl up into the fetal position while in a cinema and let loose loud, wracking sobs that caus…

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Warm Bodies by Jonathan Levine

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Unapologetically sincere with a slightly gooey centre, Warm Bodies is currently my pick for feel-good film of the year - charming with solid performances and just a whole heck of fun.

Billed as a zo…

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MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Ten years after the release of Oryx and Crake, the final instalment of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian trilogy is here, a slow-burning and wholly immersive, chilling delight. Once again we’re thrown into…

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My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

I was recommended Elena Ferrante by a friend, along with cautionary advice that Ferrante was ‘close to the bone’, a phrase somewhat akin to James Wood’s description of her writing as ‘intensely, viol…

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My Beautiful Enemy by Cory Taylor

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Earlier this year I read Me and Mr Booker, regional winner of the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize, and immediately fell in love with Cory Taylor’s writing. Sixteen-year-old Martha’s voice is fresh, wry …

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All That Is by James Salter

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

On the page, James Salter is, quite simply, stunning. His crisp, exquisitely crafted sentences have a transient quality; his words seem to flood you with feeling and then melt away.

In All That Is, …

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High Sobriety by Jill Stark

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Some Melbournians might remember The Age article back in 2011 that sparked this book. Health reporter Jill Stark shared her experiences of giving up alcohol for three months as part of the Hello Sund…

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Voiceless edited by J.M. Coetzee et al

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Earlier this year, Voiceless announced a new project: a literary prize for Australian writing that explores the relationships between animals and humans. The shortlisted writing is gathered together …

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Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

The history of this book is just a little bit amazing.

Originally published in The Paris Review in 2002 and also included in the renowned O. Henry Prize Stories collection in 2003, it earned a small…

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Building Stories by Chris Ware

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Building Stories is the imaginative, inventive and kind-of-intimidating new release from Chris Ware, the author of the widely-acclaimed Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth.

I’m hesitant to cal…

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Let The Old Dreams Die by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist knows how to do creepy just right. His vampire tale Let the Right One In was a sensation as both a novel and a film, earning him a massive following.

Now his sho…

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Questions Of Travel by Michelle de Kretser

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Questions of Travel is a big, sweeping narrative for lovers of Literature with a capital L that follows the lives of two characters.

Laura is the daughter of a wealthy doctor. Described as unattract…

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This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Junot Díaz’s writing is arresting, his prose style deeply affecting and his characters are fallible and memorable – am I gushing too much already?

Díaz is a bit of a rock star for his fans (obviousl…

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News

Q&A with Helen Macdonald

by Bronte Coates

Bronte Coates talks with Helen Macdonald about her award-winning memoir, H is for Hawk. In H is for Hawk, you decide to train a goshawk (Mabel) in response to the grief you felt at your father’s death. Would you now recommend this decision to others?

Ha! No, I don’t recommend it at all. Training and free-flying a captive-bred goshawk was my own rather eccentric way of dealing with bereavement…

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Five terrific graphic novels for teens

by Bronte Coates

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! Ballister Blackheart is a Super Villain and Nimona is a shapeshifter who’s determined to be his Evil Sidekick. Opposing them is Ballister’s arch-nemeisis and also, former BFF Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, a Hero who works for the Institution of Law Enforcement and the shadowy (is she evil?) Director.

Nimona is a smartly funny and su…

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What I learned from the Level 87 Book Club

by Bronte Coates

100 Story Building is a centre for young writers based in Melbourne’s inner-west, where children and young people from culturally and linguistically diverse and marginalised backgrounds are given the opportunity to foster their creative voice. The Readings Foundation is a proud supporter of the centre. Readings staff member Bronte Coates recently visited 100 Story Building, and was lucky enough …

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Books to read while you wait for Go Set A Watchman

by Bronte Coates

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

The parallels between this memoir and To Kill A Mockingbird should be immediately apparent; social justice lawyer Bryan Stevenson has even been described as a ‘real-life’ Atticus Finch. Our reviewer writes that the book, ‘ presents a scathing exposé of the inequalities, racial bias and discrimination that has characterised the US…

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Best ideas for Harry Potter spin off novels

by Bronte Coates

As a die-hard fan of both the boy wizard AND adaptations, interpretations, re-dos of all kinds, I’m looking forward to the inevitable Harry Potter spin off novels that someone will one day write. Here’s a sample of some I would gladly welcome into my arms. Dumbledore’s off-screen adventures, as told by Kate Beaton

Beaton’s smart and funny, sometimes sexy, comics would no doubt capture the ess…

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Every Kazuo Ishiguro novel, ranked

by Bronte Coates

In anticipation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s upcoming novel The Buried Giant – his first in ten years – Bronte Coates ranks his previous novels from worst to best. 6. The Unconsoled

A dreamlike and surreal novel about three days in the life of famous pianist Ryder The Unconsoled is undoubtedly a challenging read. While some consider the novel a masterpiece (it’s arguably Ishiguro’s most ambitious work…

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