Spring has brought our non-fiction readers out of the woodwork! September sees seven reviews from seven different reviewers covering diverse topics from architecture, feminism, true crime, animals and lifestyle choices. One of the good things about having such a select group of reviewers is that I can highlight each and every one in this post.
Starting with Jennifer @Goodreads, who is one of our top reviewers across multiple genres, we have Winning Horsemanship by Joanne Verikios, a book perfect for all the horse-lovers amongst us.
In this book, Joanne Verikios draws on her considerable experience with horses (as an owner, breeder, rider and judge) to offer advice to other horse lovers:
‘This book is for horses as much as for horse lovers. Horses don’t read books, so they rely on us for their health, happiness and sanity. They rely on us not to misuse the power we have over their lives. Building a better relationship with your horse will enhance your likelihood of success in every aspect of your life, and that is exciting.’
Up next is another prolific AWW reviewer across all genres, Brenda @Goodreads with our second book about animals. Life is a Zoo by Catharine Retter features many beautiful photographs by Natalie Boog of 50 animals and their keepers from Taronga Zoo and Western Plains Zoo, Australia. Perfect as a coffee table book, Brenda reminds us that those gorgeous books we have scattered around our homes full of lovely pictures, are indeed worthy of an AWW (non-fiction) review.
Theresa @Theresa Smith Writes provided us with a lifestyle book this month. Slow by Brooke McAlary is one that I’ve been eyeing off for a while as well. McAlary has been blogging and podcasting about this topic for quite some time. Theresa does not usually read self-help books, but found Slow to be ‘a really good read’ told with humour and honesty.
Filled with insightful observations, Slow is a book that I recommend everyone read. It takes us back to the roots of what it means to be a decent human being: a person who smiles at strangers and stops to smell the roses. Even if you think you aren’t interested in adopting a new lifestyle, reading Slow is a reality check on the way our lives have evolved, a tool kit for examining our 21st century existences with a view to evaluating whether or not we are truly satisfied.
Amanda @Mrs B’s Book Reviews brings us back to a harsher reality with her true crime review of The Sting: The Undercover Operation That Caught Daniel Morcombe’s Killer by Kate Kyriacou.
The Sting is a well written and precise text. There is sharpness in Kyriacou’s style of writing that suited this book. The format was a little likes a crime fiction novel, the chapters were sufficient but somehow they got under your skin, urging you to read on. The Sting is unquestionably well researched, offering a comprehensive standpoint on one of Australia’s most high profile cases. In the places where it is needed, Kyriacou is sensitive to the issue at hand and balanced providing the reader with a basis to the operation with the background of Cowan but she never sought to glorify him. In her treatment of the Morcombe’s, Kyriacou is completely respectful.
Two of our reviews were for books that have been featured here before. Kali Napier reviewed The Promise of Things by Ruth Quibell on her August review post, focusing on her favourite chapter about the ’empty drawer’ and what happens to our precious things when we die. While Rebecca Bowyer added to our reviews for Clementine Ford’s Fight Like a Girl stating that she had put off reading this book for the fear it would make her even angrier at the world than she already was, but…
I needn’t have worried. Clementine Ford’s ironic, humorous treatment of topics that leave plenty of the rest of us unable to see through blinding rage was incredibly refreshing and uplifting.
Finally, I reviewed @Brona’s Books Chasing the Sky: 20 Stories in of Women in Architecture edited by Dean Dewhirst and featuring biographies from the twenty women involved is this exciting project. The twenty architects were: Emma Williamson, Camilla Block, Hannah Tribe, Rachel Nolan, Stephanie Little, Tara Veldman, Penny Fuller, Sarah Ball, Debbie Ryan, Rachel Neeson, Sue Carr, Melissa Bright, Lisa-Maree Carrigan, Clare Cousins, Abbie Galvin, Ingrid Richards, Annabel Lahz, Christina Na-Heon Cho, Kerstin Thompson & Virginia Kerridge.
The book is full of elegant, stylish and generous photographs of each woman’s designs.
Each woman was obviously given a brief about the kind of content required for the book with a few key areas to cover. We learnt about their background and introduction to architecture (I was interested to note that the majority had a parent or family member already involved in architecture, design or creative pursuits somehow). They talked about their education and any challenges they had getting started. Passion, reward and ambition were three words referenced by nearly all twenty women.
I hope the diverse nature of the seven books featured this month remind us all just how wonderful and interesting non-fiction can be.
New releases this month include:
Long has Australia been known as home to the towering gum and the gnarly banksia. Australian natives are as emblematic as they are adaptable but The New Gardeners takes an old subject (Australian natives) and gives it a complete makeover. This book surveys the ways native trees, shrubs, flowers and foliage can be put to surprising and beautiful uses by some of the most creative people working with plants today.
Interviews with celebrated landscape designers, artists and gardeners – including Fiona Brockhoff, Janet Laurence and Tracey Deep – bring to light so many ways to celebrate the sculptural natives that shape our everyday spaces.
This richly illustrated book is the ideal source when seeking the perfect feature plant for a space of any size. With stunning photography of gardens old and new, this book captures the most creatively inspiring Australian plants and the people who work with them.
The Catch: The Story of Fishing in Australia by Anna Clark and published by the National Library of Australia.
In every coastal town in Australia, there’s a bait shop and a boat ramp, and, in garages around the country, fishing rods are strung up waiting for their next outing. Many of us have a special fishing spot, and families pass on tips from generation to generation and exchange fishy tales of amazing catches and near misses.
Bringing her personal passion for throwing in a line, author Anna Clark celebrates the enduring pleasure of fishing in The Catch: The Story of Fishing in Australia. This book charts the history of fishing, from the first known accounts of Indigenous fishing and early European encounters with Australia’s waters, to the latest fishing fads; from the introduction of trout and fly fishing to the challenges of balancing needs of commercial and recreational fishers.
At a time when the labour-market is failing as a source of security and identity for many, domestic tinkering is emerging as a legitimate occupation in a way we have not seen since pre-industrial times. In Australia, practices of repair, invention, building, improvising, and crafting, that take place in sheds, back-yards, paddocks, kitchens, and home-workshops, are becoming an important part of the informal economy and social cohesion, complicating distinctions between work and leisure, amateur and professional, production and consumption.
Building on the work of historians, sociologists, psychologists, and economists, but with a journalist’s impulse for the currency of her story, Katherine Wilson documents domestic tinkering as an undervalued form of material creativity, social connection, psychological sanctuary, personal identity, and even political activism. Tinkering: Australians Reinvent DIY Culture mounts a surprising case for the profound value of domestic tinkering in contemporary Australia.
About Bronwyn: I have been a book blogger at Brona’s Books since 2009 and a bookseller (specialising in children’s literature) in Sydney since 2008. Prior to this I was as an Early Childhood teacher for 18 years in country NSW.
I joined the AWW team in 2015 as the History, Memoir, Biography editor. In 2017 I moved to the General Non-fiction page.
I taught myself to read when I was four by memorising my Dr Seuss books. I haven’t stopped reading since.
You can find me on Twitter @bronasbooks and Litsy @Brona.
Wow, that really is a diverse lot Brona. I’d like to read more non-fiction, but somehow it tends to get relegated. (My reading group’s next book is non-fiction, but, darn it, it’s by an Aussie man!)