Non-Fiction reviews

A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things by Raj Patel & Jason W. Moore

Reviewed by Kara Nicholson

Don’t be fooled by the simplistic title of this book as there are profound insights into the economic, social and environmental processes of the planet to be found on almost every page. The authors h…

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The Italian Garden edited by Cecilia Hewlett & Narelle McAuliffe

Reviewed by Margaret Snowdon

The Italian Garden is a collaborative work centred on the restoration of a traditional Italian garden at the Monash Centre at Palazzo Vaj in the heart of medieval Prato in Tuscany. Over the centuries…

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On Borrowed Time by Robert Manne

Reviewed by Mark Rubbo

The publisher describes this book as a ‘stunning new collection of essays’ and the hyperbole is certainly justified. The essays range over a number of topics that matter to Robert Manne and, on readi…

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Skin in the Game by Sonya Voumard

Reviewed by Jo Case

Sonya Voumard’s father was a ‘member of Melbourne journalism’s gregarious tribe’. At ten years old, when she was fascinated and spooked by stories of child abductions, her father laid out three newsp…

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Deep Time Dreaming by Billy Griffiths

Reviewed by Marie Matteson

In the introduction to Deep Time Dreaming, Billy Griffiths relates an anecdote that Arrernte filmmaker Rachel Perkins shared with him about a conversation she had with John Mulvaney, an Australian ar…

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Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

Reviewed by Mark Rubbo

In 1784, philosopher Immanuel Kant asked, ‘What is Enlightenment?’ It was, he argued, humankind’s emergence from its submission to the ‘dogmas and formulas’ of religious or political authority. The E…

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Feel Free by Zadie Smith

Reviewed by Jo Case

Zadie Smith’s new collection brings together eight years of eclectic cultural essays written ‘during the eight years of the Obama presidency’.

In her foreword, she is specific about this period, and…

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The Water Will Come by Jeff Goodell

Reviewed by Kara Nicholson

After witnessing the devastation from Hurricane Sandy which wreaked havoc on the East Coast of the United States, Cuba and parts of the Caribbean in 2012, Rolling Stone journalist Jeff Goodell headed…

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Stories and True Stories by Helen Garner

Reviewed by Jo Case

I know I’m not the only Melbourne writer whose motto, at my laptop, is WWHGD (what would Helen Garner do?). From Monkey Grip – Readings’ first Australian bestseller – to last year’s collected non-fic…

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Saga Land by Richard Fidler & Kari Gíslason

Reviewed by Marie Matteson

Personally, I could bore anyone on the subject of Iceland, but this book won’t bore you at all! As it seems anyone who has been to Iceland does, Richard Fidler and Kári Gíslason want to tell the stor…

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