Good Reading : December / January 2007
contributors Barbara Baker Gordon Bain Rachael Blair Felicity Carter Birgit Collins Samantha Cosier Christine Cremen Rowena Cseh Margaret Deans Reg Domingo Roz Everett Kylie Field Jan Germain Alan Gold Anastasia Gonis Grant Hansen David J Hawes Daniel Herborn Lachlan Jobbins Jo Knowles Leslie Lightfoot Frances Love Elizabeth McIntyre Merle Morcom Guy Mosel Wendy Noble Peter Olszewski Dina Ross Meg Thomason Brooke Walker Melissa Wilson reviews features MELISSA WILSON is a Sydney-based journalist currently on maternity leave. Seep8 foreword KATE FORSYTH is an internationally successful fantasy writer for children and young adults. See p 16 WENDY PALMER is a Perth-based freelance writer currently living in Libya. See p 18 CHRISTOPHER BANTICK is a Melbourne-based journalist and reviewer. See p 20 ROSAMUND BURTON is a freelance journalist in the areas of natural health, personal growth, mind body spirit issues and the environments. See p 36 BEN NAPARSTEK is a literary journalist and broadcaster based in Melbourne Seep12 GILL SOUTER runs a small publishing company from the New South Wales south coast with her husband John. They sell their books worldwide. See p 22 SIOBHAN O’BRIEN is a freelance journalist and writer who lives on the south coast of New South Wales. Seep39 JOE BENNETT is New Zealand’s favourite columnist. He’s had many collections of his columns published, and has written two travel books. See p62 EDEL WIGNELL is a freelance writer, compiler and jour- nalist. Her latest book is Tying the Knot: Folk Tales of Love and Marriage from Around the World. See p 49 Have we got a busy holiday issue for you! Not only are more than seventy books reviewed this month in all our usual genres, but we’ve also covered the 2007 wine guides, some lovely (and practical) new gardening books, and a fiendishly brain-taxing memory improvement book.The puzzles from this last (see pages 54-55) and our own literary crossword (see page 60) will keep your mind active while your body digests the festive feast! I’ve always thought of myself as not being a particular fan of science fiction or fantasy – and then I start to think of some books that have stayed in my mind for years and years (The Day of the Triffids and The Lord of the Rings spring instantly to mind) and I realise that I’m a fan after all. This issue pays tribute to some of the wonderful fantasy writers Australia has produced; see the article by Kate Forsyth (no slouch herself in the fantasy stakes) on page 24 and the extract from Fiona McIntosh’s new book, Emissary, on page 56. I can certainly say I’m a great fan of pop-up books. I still have all the ones I bought for my daughter when she was little, and although some of them look a bit the worse for wear they still give me great pleasure. Gill Souter has looked at the whole genre and its history – which dates back to 1236! – and picks out some really special new examples, starting on page 22. Gill has even devised a simple pop-up card for you to make. We have some great authors for you to meet this month, too. Ben Naparstek (brave man) profiles Gore Vidal, Melissa Wilson talks to Paullina Simons, Siobhan O’Brien tells us what it was like to write the biography of Jeanne Little, Edel Wignell introduces Jill Morris, and Joe Bennett ponders the pros and cons of reading reviews of his books. I wonder how many of you have secretly nursed a literary crush – a ridiculous but nevertheless real yen for a fictitious character in a book? Wendy Palmer ’fesses up to hers on page 20, and I have to congratulate her on her choice of Strider. Couldn’t agree more. All those heading off to Tasmania for the summer are in for a treat in Hobart, where a ‘book walk’ has been devised taking in eight of the city’s delightful second-hand bookshops. Christopher Bantick guides us through on page 20. It’s an idea other cities could perhaps contemplate copying. If you’re heading for an area that contains vineyards (and that takes in a fair chunk of Oz) take a look at our coffee table book on page 52 for inspiration from James Halliday’s new, updated Wine Atlas of Australia. Happy holiday reading (and puzzle-solving) to all our readers!