Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark

Reviewed by Debbie Worgan

Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark
Julia Baird
Harper Collins, $32.99

I haven’t even finished reading this book, but I already know it’s worthy of a review. Parts of it have resonated so well with my life that it’s almost as if it’s been written for me. The book is largely a collection of essays which reflect Julia’s search for light and meaning – a search that many people can identify with. Julia writes beautifully and passionately … Read more »

Blacklands

Reviewed by Debbie Worgan

Blacklands
Belinda Bauer
Orion, $19.99

Blacklands, the first novel by Belinda Bauer, is a chilling psychological read. It’s both a tale of a broken, dysfunctional family and a journey into the mind of a child-murdering serial killer.

The story revolves around Steven Lamb, a 12-year-old boy from a poor background, whose uncle, Billy, was believed to have been a victim of the child killer … Read more »

The Art of Racing in the Rain


Reviewed by Debbie Worgan

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Garth Stein
$26.99

I imagine this book has a different impact on readers depending on whether they have a dog or not. Enzo the dog is the narrator, the friend, the confidant and ally, with a human soul. Other readers might find it predictable and unbelievable. I believed it because I’ve seen how my dog looks knowingly at me at times.

The story begins when Enzo (named … Read more »

Ducks, Newburyport

Ducks, Newburyport
Lucy Ellmann

Text Publishing

Reviewed by Jen Severn

Present circumstances have allowed me the time and space to finish Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann. I was intrigued when I heard that it comprises just one sentence of stream-of-consciousness (one review said ‘Ulysses has nothing on this’), and when my brother called to ask for ideas for my birthday present in November, it was my first thought. But somehow I’d missed the detail that it’s over a thousand … Read more »

The Wonder

Reviewed by Debbie Worgan

Emma Donoghue

The Wonder 

$17.25

When Emma Donoghue wrote The Wonder she already had a strong following of readers after her success with Room. This story is completely different yet thought-provoking in its own way. The Wonder is a tale of two strangers and the clash between science and faith.

Set in the mid-nineteenth century in a tiny village in Ireland, something unusual is happening. Is it a medical anomaly or a miracle, as the town proclaims?

To appease the … Read more »

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Debbie Worgan

Gail Honeyman,
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine,
$32.99

Debut Sunday Times Bestseller and Costa First Novel Book Award winner.

Eleanor Oliphant is most definitely not completely fine, but she is one of the most unusual and thought-provoking fictional characters I have met. The human need for connection, initially scorned by Eleanor, is at the heart of this novel.

Eleanor Oliphant is instantly real. When we first meet her, she is socially awkward and neurotic, has a drinking habit and holds regular conversations with an evil, dominating … Read more »