Non-Fiction reviews

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister by Jung Chang

British–Chinese writer Jung Chang (Wild Swans, Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China) is well-known for writing intimate biographies set against some of the world’s most turbu…

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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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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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The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West

Lindy West’s is the voice we need in 2019 – she’s snarky, sensible, accessible, inclusive and aware, and above all, hilarious. In The Witches are Coming, West takes her reader on a journey through po…

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The Man in the Red Coat by Julian Barnes

With this ‘narrative nonfiction’, Julian Barnes leads us through the literary and arty world of Paris of the 1880s and 1890s, the Belle Époque of glittering salons and vicious gossip and social snipi…

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Finding the Heart of the Nation by Thomas Mayor

In 2017, over two hundred and fifty Indigenous representatives from around the country gathered at Uluru and unanimously adopted the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The last paragraph reads, ‘In 1967…

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Guest House for Young Widows by Azadeh Moaveni

What might make a woman – perhaps an educated woman from a stable family situation – travel to Syria to join the Islamic State? This is the foundational question of the brilliantly provocative and ge…

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The Anarchy by William Dalrymple

Given the dastardly activities of some of our massive corporations of today, the antics contained within William Dalrymple’s latest offering shouldn’t really come as a huge shock to readers. I say th…

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Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe

Say Nothing, Patrick Radden Keefe’s examination of the Troubles in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, won the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Writing. Keefe, a…

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White Tears/Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad

In 2018, journalist Ruby Hamad wrote an article for The Guardian Australia titled ‘How white women use strategic tears to silence women of colour’. It received worldwide praise and condemnation. An A…

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