Book Review highlights for 2021

2021 was not the greatest year of our lives but, for avid readers, it has had some terrific highlights. Here are my selections for the best of – would love to hear which books gave you the most pleasure. 

Overall favourites/champions

After Story – Larissa Behrendt; and Kazuo Ishiguro – Klara and the Sun

Best biography

James Campbell – Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin

Best political histories

Johanna Perheentupa – Redfern: Aboriginal Activism in the 1970s; … Read more »

Not Just Black and White

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Not Just Black and White

Lesley Williams and Tammy Williams

UQP, $32.95

One of the easiest and best ways to learn about Indigenous culture and history is to work your way through the winners of the David Unaipon Award. It was established to celebrate both Indigenous writers of both fiction and non-fiction, in collaboration with Queensland University Press. This award acknowledges … Read more »

Speaking up

Gillian Triggs
Speaking up

I chose this book for The Triangle because I thought that the work of the Human Rights Commission and of its President has seldom been out of the news for the last few years. Here is the chance to understand the importance of the Commission and to try to understand why Gillian Triggs has attracted so much criticism from the government and from conservative commentators. What the book does is outline the arguments and the ideological struggles over such issues as the … Read more »

No friend but the mountains: Writings from Manus prison

Behrouz Boochani, No friend but the mountains: Writings from Manus prison. $32.99

It is hard to know where to start with this, except to say if there was ever a book that should be compulsory reading (especially for politicians) it is this one. It has just won the Victorian prizes for Literature and for Non-fiction, and it easy to see why.

The book was produced over five years from within the Manus detention centre, relayed to his translator in Melbourne by mobile phone texting. … Read more »

White Houses

Amy Bloom,
White Houses

When I read an advance review of this book, I immediately got onto Candelo Books to order my copy. I have been a huge fan of Eleanor Roosevelt all my life so I was excited to see a new book on her. Eleanor and Franklin entered the White House in 1933, living through one of the most tumultuous times in American history – the Great Depression followed by … Read more »

The Noise of Time

Julian Barnes, The Noise of Time, $19.99

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

I remember trying to read Flaubert’s Parrot years ago and vowing not to try anything by Julian Barnes again. Wrong. I have completely changed my mind – might even go back to it! Early this year I read his 2011 Booker Prize winner, The Sense of an Ending, and then picked up this latest book which I liked even more. It is an account of the life of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), arguably the most … Read more »