Non-Fiction reviews

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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The Future is History by Masha Gessen

Reviewed by Kara Nicholson

As I read the final chapters of Masha Gessen’s latest book on Russian politics, it is reported that hundreds of protesters have been arrested in cities across Russia. Putin’s number-one political opp…

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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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The Woman Who Fooled the World by Beau Donelly & Nick Toscano

Reviewed by Jo Case

You don’t need to have heard about Belle Gibson, the Instafamous ‘wellness warrior’ who made a fortune and built an empire on her claim to have treated her brain cancer (which she didn’t have) with d…

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The Quantum Astrologer’s Handbook by Michael Brooks

Reviewed by Chris Dite

The philosopher Zeno, of Elia’s arrow paradox, is frustratingly simple. When an archer shoots an arrow we perceive it to move towards the target. But we understand that in its journey there, the arro…

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Please Explain by Anna Broinowski

Reviewed by Kara Nicholson

Author and filmmaker Anna Broinowski first introduced herself to Pauline Hanson as a ‘pro-refugee, pro-environment, pro-reconciliation leftie’. She had approached the notorious politician in 2009 wit…

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Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young

Reviewed by Bronte Coates

Ashleigh Young is a voice to fall in love with. Her debut essay collection was recently named a winner of the prestigious Windham–Campbell Prize, and has just now become available in Australia thanks…

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Neon Pilgrim by Lisa Dempster

Reviewed by Chris Gordon

Written long before she became director of the Melbourne Writers Festival, Neon Pilgrim is an often humorous, brutally honest record of a walking expedition taken when Dempster was 28 years old and n…

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