fbpx

The Language of Butterflies by Wendy Williams

How Thieves, Hoarders, Scientists, and Other Obsessives Unlocked the Secrets of the World’s Favourite Insect Guest Book Review by Ruby Rosenfield This book is a riveting read in which the reader, if not already a butterfly enthusiast, will surely become entranced by the wonderful world of Lepidoptera. The author Wendy Williams is an American ScienceContinue reading “The Language of Butterflies by Wendy Williams”

The daylight and the dust: selected short stories by Janet Frame.

This short story collection covers four decades and themes from childhood to death. Frame was saved from a mental institution and a scheduled lobotomy when she won a most prestigious New Zealand literary award. Jane Campion directed the film adaptation of her autobiography ‘An Angel at My Table’ that details this suffering and recognition. DespiteContinue reading “The daylight and the dust: selected short stories by Janet Frame.”

Down the Rabbit Hole by Cynthia Terelst

Fraser Coast’s queen of romance writing, Cynthia Terelst has done it again. Terelst has written a medium heat romance with all the elements of Queensland country life. It begins when Emily or Lemony Emily returns to her hometown feeling like an outsider. Her progressive ideas were not understood when she was younger, and she couldn’tContinue reading “Down the Rabbit Hole by Cynthia Terelst”

Long Hard Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson

This book was published in 1998, and the context of what is written must be viewed through that lens. It is an autobiography of the character Marilyn Manson modelled on Dante’s Inferno. Manson’s signature is saying extreme things, pushing limits, transgressing to test people’s acceptance. This fiction stays completely in this lane, with intentional ironyContinue reading “Long Hard Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson”

History of Violence by Édouard Louis

This autobiographical novel documents Édouard’s rape at gunpoint. Édouard’s ambivalence toward Reda – the perpetrator – is at the centre of the subtle and complex story. Although Édouard reports him to the police he tries to understand what happened. After analysing the motives of Reda, he realises that Reda is ashamed of his homosexuality. Édouard’sContinue reading “History of Violence by Édouard Louis”

For Love of Zachary by Kathleen V. McLennan

McLennan gives a voice to the many children that have lost family and hope as they are shuffled between government departments. The story is one of redemption through friendship. Instead of being shown compassion when traumatised and simply trying to survive their circumstances, these children are often blamed. Set in Australian suburbs, this novella talksContinue reading “For Love of Zachary by Kathleen V. McLennan”

Mishima’s Sword by Christopher Ross

Travels in Search of a Samurai Legend Yukio Mishima is one of the Japanese’s most sublime writers. He is sadly most remembered for cutting open his stomach and instructing assistants to behead him with his antique sword “Mishimi, who was fastidious with language, preferred the term hara-kiri over seppuku despite its perceived vulgarity.” Ross travelsContinue reading “Mishima’s Sword by Christopher Ross”

The Paper Menagerie and other stories by Ken Liu

Jack is central to the short story ‘The Paper Menagerie’. His mother immigrated to America from China, and Jack is bi-racial. Jack’s mother has created an origami menagerie of animals that comes alive with her breath. As he gets older, he becomes ashamed of his mother’s heritage and creates distance. Only after her death doesContinue reading “The Paper Menagerie and other stories by Ken Liu”

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

In this story Adeline or Addie cuts a deal with the darkness to escape her mundane village existence. Henry is the only person who remembers her name. She explains to him everyone else forgets her the minute she walks away “Because”, she says, slumping back against the concrete wall. “I’m cursed”. Addie is born inContinue reading “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab”

1Q84 The Complete Trilogy by Haruki Murakami

The Christian Society of Witnesses, the doomsday cult Sakigake, The Dowager who supports domestic violence victims, her assistant martial arts instructor Aomame and Tengo the maths teacher and writer are all part of this book. This is mixed with parallel dimensions. The world Aomame arrives in via the staircase accessed from the freeway, at theContinue reading “1Q84 The Complete Trilogy by Haruki Murakami”

Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

Wohlleben claims trees have personalities, feelings and thrive as families. He also suggests fungi operate as fibre optic internet cables, transmitting signals from one tree to another exchanging news about drought, insects and other things. The term coined for this is ‘wood wide web.’ There are loner trees such as willows and the fungi areContinue reading “Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben”

Before the Coffee gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi.

In a little coffee shop in Tokyo, Fumiko is dumped by her boyfriend. He leaves for America, leaving her devastated. She revisits the place and enquires about a fabled magic chair that lets people time travel. A ghostly woman occupies the chair and only when she visits the powder room can you sit there, orContinue reading “Before the Coffee gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi.”

Get off your High Horse by Cynthia Terelst

Terelst is a Fraser Coast local! This is a feel-good equestrian romance targeting young adults. Each chapter is told from a different character’s point view and allows the reader a first-person insight into their motivations. The story begins at the wealthy Brisbane polo grounds. There is a sweet romance between Frankie and a would-be prince,Continue reading “Get off your High Horse by Cynthia Terelst”

The Conspiracy against the Human Race by Thomas Ligotti

Ligotti eloquently clarifies the existential dilemma of being human. Although the philosophy he explores is not revolutionary, he discusses the points with clarity and relates them to horror fiction. He reframes philosophy, literature and neuroscience and presents it from the point of view of a horror writer. In the chapter ‘The Cult of Grinning Martyrs’Continue reading “The Conspiracy against the Human Race by Thomas Ligotti”

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This book investigates how people cope with the unspeakable. The character Eleanor is an authentic and lonely person who isolates on schedule. She slowly moves into the world of other people when a neighbour needs her help. “I was glad to help, glad to be moving away from Mummy-related conversation. There were various chores MrsContinue reading “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman”

The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) by Herman Hesse.

Set in the future around 25 AD this allegory is told from an historian’s perspective. It focuses on the 23rd Century and the main character is Joseph Knecht. Set in Castalia, the story is revealed through documents written by Knecht’s contemporaries. Further insight is gained through poems and short stories written by Knecht. Castalia isContinue reading “The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) by Herman Hesse.”

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

This is a coming of age story about an Italian middle-class girl called Giovanna. She lives in Naples and the story opens with her questioning the unconditional love her father has bestowed on her. She overhears her parents talking. Her father blames her failing grades on her transformed likeness to ostracized Aunt Vittoria.  This propelsContinue reading “The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante”

The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly by Jean Dominique Bauby.

Bauby, experiences a stroke at the age of 43. He is in the prime of his life, on the editorial staff at Elle and has two small children. After waking 20 days later, he could only blink his left eyelid. Suffering what is called locked-in-syndrome he dictates this novel through blinking this eye. The beautyContinue reading “The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly by Jean Dominique Bauby.”

My Brother Jack by George Johnston

Each read of this fifty-six-year-old classic reveals more nuances about the Australian identity. Set in post-war Melbourne suburbs, this seminal piece is a retelling by David Meredith of his life. His mother is a nurse who houses Gallipoli invalids including Meredith’s father. Suffering PTSD, he is a brutal alcoholic who displays unpredictability and weakness. TheContinue reading “My Brother Jack by George Johnston”

Stories: The Collected Short Fiction by Helen Garner

Monkey Grip, Helen Garner’s first novel, is raw. The portrayal of single mother Nora and heroin addict Javo’s life is now cemented as a classic. Written in 1977, it started her long career. She delves into authentic experiences of Australian life and disregards writing rules. She has mastery of the short story form.  In 2017Continue reading “Stories: The Collected Short Fiction by Helen Garner”

The Cure for Death by Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Told through the eyes of 15-year-old Beth, living in rural Canada, this novel is an intense sensory experience set during World War Two. She befriends the local Indian kids and the rich spiritual and natural world they share enables her to survive the sexual abuse and increasing violence her PTSD suffering father imposes on her.Continue reading “The Cure for Death by Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz”

The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier, Dan Sperber

This book contends with the question of what makes us human by taking us through the history of philosophical ponderings from Descartes to Martin Luther King, from Hermann von Helmholtz to Nietzsche. The authors step us through their theory regarding the purpose of reason and why it developed in humans. Examples demonstrate why we workContinue reading “The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier, Dan Sperber”