Non-Fiction reviews

Having and Being Had by Eula Biss

Having and Being Had is the new book from American essayist Eula Biss and, as with her two previous very good works, this is the kind of enthralling read that opens up your thinking in new and exciti…

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The Doctor Who Fooled the World by Brian Deer

On day one of Dr Andrew Wakefield’s hearing for serious professional misconduct, the staff of the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) took turns to read out ninety-three pages of charges against Wakef…

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Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald

I adored H is For Hawk, Helen Macdonald’s memoir of grief and falconry, which took an unconventional approach to the wellworn idea that the natural world has healing power. Macdonald explored its bea…

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Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake

Fungi, eh? Flavour of the month. The newest mycological champignon, Merlin Sheldrake, is a ‘musician and keen fermenter’, a son of Rupert Sheldrake, holds a PhD in tropical ecology from Cambridge, an…

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The Ratline by Philippe Sands

The good news for 2020 is that Philippe Sands has finally written a follow-up to his enormously successful Baillie Gifford Prizewinning book, East West Street! Didn’t read that one? No problem. This …

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Wild Nature by John Blay

This year of staying at home has made me ravenous for the wild places I can’t visit, and John Blay’s new book is a balm for this frustrated urge. Blay is a naturalist, best known for his exploration …

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Body Count by Paddy Manning

As I write this review, I’m conscious of that we’re about to clock twelve months since the onset of the fires in New South Wales that would get out of control and eventually devastate the landscape, …

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The Trials of Portnoy by Patrick Mullins

In 1969 Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint – a book so widely accepted now that it is deemed boring – was banned in Australia. Undercover police raided bookstores, charged booksellers and seized all t…

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Landscapes of Our Hearts by Matthew Colloff

Mathew Colloff works at the Fenner School of Environment & Society at the ANU, and prior to that was a research scientist for twenty- three years at the CSIRO. So, although this book is a very person…

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How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way That Makes a Difference by Rebecca Huntley

Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia’s most experienced and respected social researchers. As she quips, ‘I make a living out of understanding why people think the way they do.’ Here, in her sixth book…

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