Non-Fiction reviews

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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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 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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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 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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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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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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Hazelwood by Tom Doig

In February 2014, the Hazelwood open-pit brown-coal mine caught fire and burned out of control for forty-five days. Residents of the impoverished Latrobe Valley endured months of toxic air pollution.…

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Square Haunting by Francesca Wade

I love women’s history. I love group biographies. I love English social and cultural history in the period between the wars. And I love Bloomsbury, the place and its lore. So it’s no surprise then th…

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