New Release: Animals Make Us Human Edited By Leah Kaminsky and Meg Keneally

animals make us human
Animals Make Us Human Edited by Leah Kaminsky and Meg Keneally

 

A fundraiser for our wildlife, from land, sea and sky. Proceeds go to the Australian Marine Conservation Society and Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

A response to the devastating 2019–20 bushfires, Animals Make Us Human both celebrates Australia’s unique wildlife and highlights its vulnerability. Through words and images, writers, photographers and researchers reflect on their connection with animals and nature. They share moments of wonder and revelation from encounters in the natural world: seeing a wild platypus at play, an echidna dawdling across a bush track, or the inexplicable leap of a thresher shark; watching bats take flight at dusk, or birds making a home in the backyard; or following possums, gliders and owls into the dark.

Hopeful, uplifting and deeply moving, this collection is also an urgent call to action, a powerful reminder that we only have one world in which to coexist and thrive with our fellow creatures. By highlighting the beauty and fragility of our unique fauna, Australia’s favourite writers, renowned researchers and acclaimed photographers encourage readers to consider it in a new light.

Featuring: Barbara Allen, Robbie Arnott, Tony Birch, James Bradley, Mark Brandi, Geraldine Brooks, Anne Buist, Melanie Cheng, Claire G. Coleman, Ceridwen Dovey, Chris Flynn, Nayuka Gorrie, Dan Harley, Ashley Hay, Toni Jordan, Leah Kaminsky, Paul Kelly, Meg Keneally, Tom Keneally, Cate Kennedy, David Lindenmayer, Ella Loeffler, Maia Loeffler, Jen Martin, Angela Meyer, Sonia Orchard, Favel Parrett, Marissa Parrott, Bruce Pascoe, Jack Pascoe, Sue Pillans, Nick Porch, Holly Ringland, Euan Ritchie, Antoinette Roe, Kirli Saunders, Graeme Simsion, Tracy Sorensen, Shaun Tan, Lucy Treloar, Karen Viggers, Emma Viskic, John Woinarski, Clare Wright.

And photographers: Tim Bawden, Kristian Bell, Rohan Bilney, Justin Bruhn, Andrew Buckle, Matt Clancy, Amy Coetsee, Craig Coverdale, Angus Emmott, Jayne Jenkins, Vivien Jones, Sue Liu, Michael Livingston, Caleb McElrea, Nick Monaghan, Richard Pillans, Gillian Rayment, Linda Rogan, David Maurice Smith, Steve Smith, Colin Southwell, Georgina Steytler, Wayne Suffield, Heather Sutton, Peter Taylor, William Terry, Patrick Tomkins, Matt Wright.

  • Published: 3 November 2020
  • ISBN: 9781760899813
  • Imprint: Penguin Life
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $29.99

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Lockdown Viewing

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“tv” is licensed under CC0 1.0

I’ve been watching a lot more television lately than I usually do and I’ve had a lot of conversations with people looking for something good to watch, so I thought it was a good idea to write a couple of short reviews of my lockdown viewing.

There is a mix of new releases and classics, and I watch on Stan, Netflix Australia, and Australian free to air television stations.

A year after a devastating flood has killed five locals in an idyllic country town, a mysterious new plant appears. The plant’s phenomenal ability to restore youth is so formidable that attempting to harness it means re-evaluating values.

Creator: Glen Dolman

Stars: Bryan BrownPhoebe TonkinGenevieve Morris, Jacki Weaver

2019 – 2020

Viewed on Stan Australia

 

My Review

Bloom is an unusual Australian drama. In a small country town recovering from a fatal flood, people discover a plant that makes them young again. As people become desperate to harness this apparent fountain of youth they are forced to re-evaluate their priorities.

My household enjoyed the first season of Bloom but thought that the second season felt a little bit forced or overdone. Top-notch performances by Aussie stalwarts such as Bryan Brown and Jacki Weaver and lots of exciting up and coming Aussie actors too.

3/5 stars.

The Bold Type

“The Bold Type” is inspired by the life of “Cosmopolitan” editor in chief, Joanna Coles. The show is a glimpse into the outrageous lives and loves of those responsible for a global women’s magazine. Their struggles are about finding your identity, managing friendships and getting your heart broken, all while wearing the perfect jeans to flatter any body type.

Creator:

 Sarah Watson

2017 – ?
Viewed on Stan Australia

 

 

My Review

I bloody love this silly show! The Bold Type focuses on three best friends – Jane, Sutton and Kat – who work at New York’s best women’s magazine. With the help of their fabulous editor in chief they are figuring out their lives and careers, all while looking fabulous.

This is definitely classified as a ‘girls’ show in my household, so it’s my duvet day treat any time I need a pick me up. It’s refreshing to watch a show about women where they are all so god damned supportive of each other and it never fails to put a smile on my face.

5/5 stars.

Cold Justice

Cold Justice is a unique and thrilling Indigenous crime series – the first of its kind in Australia. The series is a raw and unfiltered look at the injustice Indigenous Australians face when it comes to unsolved deaths.

The award-winning first series investigated the 1988 death of Aboriginal teenager Mark Haines who was found dead on railway tracks in Tamworth, NSW.

Allan’s reporting on the unsolved death of Mark Haines lead to the Oxley LAC reopening their investigation into the case after 29 years. This year, on the 30th anniversary of Mark’s death, the NSW Police announced a $500,000 reward for any information that could solve the case.

Over four weeks, the second season of Cold Justice will investigate the unsolved deaths of Stephen Smith, Theresa Binge and Lois Roberts. The new season will give these Indigenous victims and their families a voice while holding the police and authorities to account of their investigations.

Presenter for Cold Justice, Allan Clarke said the families shared their most harrowing and traumatic moments of their lives which still remain raw today.

“Their trauma compounded by frustration with a justice system that has failed to deliver them closure. The question is does the justice system view Aboriginal victims differently?” he said.

2017
Viewed on SBS On Demand
My Review

Cold Justice is presented by award-winning journalist Allan Clarke. It is clear that Clarke is a skilled and empathetic journalist. He has done an outstanding job of researching these cases and developing warm and genuine relationships with their families.

These stories are heartbreaking and the lack of justice is cruel and unfair. It is unconscionable that this is the first documentary to ever investigate Indigenous cold cases in Australia and I hope that this series is a step in the right direction towards achieving justice for these families and many more.

5/5 stars.

Ozark

The Byrdes and their teenage kids, Charlotte and Jonah, are, for all intents and purposes, an ordinary family with ordinary lives. Except for the job of Marty, a Chicago financial advisor who also serves as the top money launderer for the second largest drug cartel in Mexico. When things go awry, Marty must uproot his family from the skyscrapers of Chicago and relocate to the lazy lake region of the Missouri Ozarks.

Creators:

 Bill DubuqueMark Williams

2017 – ?

Viewed on Netflix Australia

 

My Review

I suspect a lot of people are already up to date with Ozark as it’s so popular, so I won’t make this review too long. This series has been a big hit for both of us in my household, which is a huge achievement. There’s a thrill a minute and I feel like all three seasons are quite equal. I don’t think I’ve ever not enjoyed a Jason Bateman performance and the rest of the cast is fantastic. A truly excellent thriller with just the right amount of drama.

5/5 stars.

 

Book Review: The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanna Nell

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The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village

Blurb

A moving, funny, heartwarming tale of love and friendship, for anyone who loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryThe Keeper of Lost Things and Three Things about Elsie.

It’s never too late to grow old disgracefully …

The life of 79-year-old pensioner Peggy Smart is as beige as the décor in her retirement village. Her week revolves around aqua aerobics and appointments with her doctor. The highlight of Peggy’s day is watching her neighbour Brian head out for his morning swim.

Peggy dreams of inviting the handsome widower – treasurer of the Residents’ Committee and one of the few eligible men in the village – to an intimate dinner. But why would an educated man like Brian, a chartered accountant no less, look twice at Peggy? As a woman of a certain age, she fears she has become invisible, even to men in their eighties.

But a chance encounter with an old school friend she hasn’t seen in five decades – the glamorous fashionista Angie Valentine – sets Peggy on an unexpected journey of self-discovery. Can she channel her ‘inner Helen Mirren’ and find love and friendship in her twilight years?

My Review

The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village is a warm and uplifting book about love, friendship and the importance of growing old disgracefully.

79 year old Peggy Smart lives a beige and boring life at her retirement village. She is grieving for her late husband and growing increasingly frustrated with the way that her children and doctor are treating her as a frail old lady. She doesn’t want to be shipped off to a scary nursing home, and rightly so if you pay attention to what actually happens in those places! The only excitement in her life comes from her secret crush on an eligible bachelor until her old school friend Angie shows up at the Jacaranda Retirement Village and sets Peggy on a journey of self-discovery.

I enjoyed the ways that Peggy and the other elderly characters were portrayed as real people who were much more complex than almost any other elderly character I’ve come across before. Many of their issues and character arcs were related to their age, but they were so much more complex than that. It’s refreshing to see elderly characters depicted in this way and I commend Nell for the way she has crafted these realistic and lovable characters. I particularly enjoyed Peggy’s humorous Freudian slips and the politics that went on between the residents of the retirement village.

About the Author

joanna nell
Joanna Nell

Joanna Nell is a Sydney-based writer and GP. Her bestselling debut novel The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village was published in 2018 with rights sold internationally. Her second novel The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker was published 24th September 2019.

Joanna’s award winning short fiction has been published in a number of magazines, journals and short story anthologies including Award Winning Australian Writing. She has also written for The Sydney Morning Herald’s Spectrum and Sunday Life magazines.

Joanna’s third novel ‘The Great Escape From Woodlands Nursing Home’ will be in stores October 27th 2020!

Details

Published: September 25th 2018 by Hachette Australia

Source: Library

Read: Paperback

Pages: 400

RRP: $29.99

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Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

 

Blurb

A novel about a young woman determined to make her way in the wilds of North Carolina, and the two men that will break her isolation open.

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark.

But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world–until the unthinkable happens.

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Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

My Review

Where the Crawdads Sing is one of those rare books that I would recommend to almost anybody. Beautifully written and evocative, it is an incredibly unique coming of age story wrapped up inside a compelling murder mystery.
 
The book is set in North Carolina in the 1950s-1970s. By he age of seven, Kya is abandoned by her entire family and left to live alone in a broken down shack on an isolated marsh. She manages to survive and to evade the school truancy officers by imitating the animals around her and with a little bit of help from the kind-hearted owner of a local gas dock and bait shop.
 
Kya opens up when two young men take an interest in her as she develops into a beautiful teenager, until, something unthinkable happens. This is where the murder mystery comes into play, so I don’t want to spoil that part for anybody.
 
Even though the townspeople view Kya as a wild “Marsh Girl” we learn that she is actually sensitive and intelligent young woman. Learning how to read and write as a teenager seems to be very easy for her (perhaps a little bit too easy?) and she spends her entire life observing and collecting incredibly detailed information about the marsh.
 
The accurate and beautifully written descriptions of the marsh and the animals that lived in it were the strongest and most evocative part of the novel. Delia Owens has spent years writing non-fiction about nature and that is evident throughout. The author has also done a brilliant job of weaving in the Southern feeling and accents. “Magnolia mouth” as one of the characters aptly describes it.
 
The ending of the book left me feeling so very sad for Kya and angry about all the people in her life who let her down. It’s heartbreaking to imagine such a young and vulnerable child/young woman being abandoned and let down by almost every single person in her life. I was furious when her mother’s story was revealed and I found many of the actions of many of the townspeople to be unforgivable.
Where the Crawdads Sing is one of those stories that I know will stick with me for a long time. The wild and ferocious beauty of the North Carolina marsh where Kya spent her time, the almost unbearable loneliness she experienced, and the questions it raises about the way our society treats our most vulnerable people are all rolled up inside a mystery that will keep you turning the pages way past your bedtime.
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Where the Crawdads Sing with Zeus Cat

About the Author

Delia Owens is the co-author of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa including Cry of the Kalahari.

She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in NatureThe African Journal of Ecology, and many others.

She currently lives in Idaho. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel

delia owens
Author Delia Owens