Good Reading : August 2007
foreword millions of .books. .one shop. emporiumbooks.com.au Australia’s largest online bookstore This month it’s our annual blokey (but not too blokey) issue. Men we celebrate this month include the fascinating Barack Obama, the first black American to look as though he could end up as the president of the United States. Long- time contributor Alan Gold takes a look at Obama’s memoir Dreams From My Father on page 12. A couple of months ago I was delighted to be able to talk to Owen Sheers, a prize-winning Welsh poet (that makes him sound a bit like something at the Royal Easter Show!) whose first novel − a riveting ‘what if ?’ about a Britain invaded by the Nazis − is published this month. My interview with this rising literary star is on page 9. This month’s featured author, Peter Watt, makes the point that the kinds of books he writes, and the kinds of books an awful lot of people like to read, rarely make the pages of literary magazines. The novels in question are what’s known as ‘airport novels’: undemanding but nevertheless gripping action reads. Well, we’re out to prove him wrong! Peter Olszewski’s article on Peter Watt and his books begins on page 14. One of the sad − in some cases tragic − consequences of ‘blokeyness’ is the refusal of many men to have regular health check-ups. This month on page 35 Rosamund Burton inter- views the author of a book aimed at encouraging men to have tests for prostate cancer, a cancer which kills more men each year in Australia than breast cancer does women. And speaking of illness, on page 20 the splendid Dr Jim Leavesley give us the lowdown on weird conditions suffered by some well-known writers. Kevin Patrick takes a look at Margery Allingham’s popular hero Albert Campion on page 23, and as a final salute to manhood, how could we possibly have ignored the front cover of this month’s coffee table book? See what we mean on page 46! But now to the distaff side. I was never a fan of books about boarding schools, but one of the great pleasures of my childhood was reading pony books, especially the ‘Jill’ series. On page 18 Liz Filleul examines the phenomenon of the enduring popularity of ‘girls’ own’ school and pony books. And our ‘Book bite’ this month, on page 50, is part of the first chapter of a really good novel about two women of a certain age, book lovers both, and what happens to them and their families over the course of a year. It’s called Reading in Bed, it’s by Sue Gee, and I can heartily recommend it.