Non-Fiction reviews

Phosphorescence by Julia Baird

We already know and love Julia Baird. She has written many articles and (two) books addressing gender and politics. She is a journalist with something to say. She is the host of ABC TV’s The Drum and…

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Design Lives Here by Penny Craswell

The beauty of this book is that it does many things in a (seemingly) effortless, elegant fashion. For every house or apartment featured, the sum of its parts creates the whole: architecture, interior…

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Truganini by Cassandra Pybus

Cassandra Pybus’s Truganini tells the story of a journey full of deception and dead ends as George Augustus Robinson, ‘Protector of Aboriginals’, leads a group of Indigenous survivors from Lunawanna-…

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Blueberries by Ellena Savage

To make a living as an author, Ellena Savage writes, you need to have a diverse portfolio. As an editor, academic, teacher, critic, literary event host (among other things), Ellena Savage has had to …

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Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights by Helen Lewis

A woman is ‘difficult’ when she refuses to conform to society’s expectations. When she fights for her rights. When she is not the perfect stereotype of what is seen as a woman. A woman is difficult, …

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She I Dare Not Name by Donna Ward

This is Donna Ward’s first book, but she has been writing for a long time. Her essays have appeared in all our major journals and she is known as a thoughtful and concise author. She I Dare Not Name

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The Lost Pianos of Siberia by Sophy Roberts

‘Instead of tigers, I would track pianos,’ Sophy Roberts declares while sharing a meal with a Siberian tiger researcher in the Far East of Russia. This was the moment when Roberts decided she would s…

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You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy

The irony about writing this review is that a review is all about opinion. It’s me talking at you, telling you what I think. But this brilliant and insightful book is all about saying less, listening…

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Yellow Notebook: Diaries Volume I, 1978–1987 by Helen Garner

When Helen Garner’s debut novel Monkey Grip was published in 1977, a couple of larrikins made some beer money by publishing a pamphlet, ‘Who’s Who in Monkey Grip’ and there might be a temptation for …

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Make It Scream, Make It Burn by Leslie Jamison

Leslie Jamison’s first essay collection, The Empathy Exams, made Readings’ Best of Nonfiction list in 2014. It is a book we still recommend and to which many of us still return. Jamison’s new essay c…

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