Book Review: The Romantic Italian Days and Nights by Kate Holden

Book Review: The Romantic Italian Nights and Days by Kate Holden

Kate Holden is the Australian author of the amazing memoir In This Skin. The Romantic is a follow-up to this memoir. A bit about Kate Holden, she’s a woman from Melbourne who grew up in a respectable middle-class family. She then broke away from her stable family life and became a heroin addict and a…

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Book Review: The Map of Knowledge by Violet Moller

Book Review: The Map of Knowledge by Violet Moller

Have you ever wondered where the original ideas in mathematics, astronomy, science, medicine, philosophy ever came from? The answers to these questions are in this remarkable history book that takes us on a tiki-tour through the highways and back alleys of some of the most vibrant and buzzing cities of the ancient world, where knowledge…

Book Review: The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth - Part 1

Book Review: The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth – Part 1

Mark Forsyth is the witty and effervescent writer of several books on the history of language, etymology and linguistics. The Elements of Eloquence explains the timeless art of crafting memorable one liners. In other words, the rules of classical rhetoric.   This is a great guide for writers who want to master the subtle art…

Book Review: The Trauma Cleaner: One woman’s extraordinary life in decay and disaster by Sarah Krasnostein

Book Review: The Trauma Cleaner: One woman’s extraordinary life in decay and disaster by Sarah Krasnostein

This is quite possibly the most incredible non-fiction memoir that I have ever read in my life. I know that sounds big, but this book was a real knock-out. It has won countless awards including the Victorian Prize for Literature. Originally a fantastic long-form essay on Narrative.ly, author Sarah Krasnostein then developed the story of…

Book Review: Making Magic by Briana Saussy

Book Review: Making Magic by Briana Saussy

Briana Saussy writer and founder of the Sacred Arts Academy in San Antonio, Texas has written an intimate, enjoyable and joyful guide to the art of creating spiritual rituals and ceremonies in your home. Making Magic is organised by technique and material. It makes the everyday rituals in our lives sacred and adds pleasure and…

Book Review: The Mind in the Cave by David Lewis Williams

Book Review: The Mind in the Cave by David Lewis Williams

I grabbed a copy of this book fully expecting to love it. The Mind in the Cave is packed with information about ancient history, anthropology, archaeology and the Lascaux and Chauvet cave complexes – some of my favourite subjects. Although I have to say that this book was written in a style that was confusing to read, difficult to wade through and some of the information didn’t make sense, even to this non-expert on the topic.

Book Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Book Review: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

This is the first fantasy novel of acclaimed Japanese writer Kazuo Ishiguro. Previously, I have read The Remains of the Day, an incredible book that was turned into a successful film of the same name. Although creating a fantasy novel is a huge departure from his usual setting. In many ways, this book contains the…

Day in the life: Facebook is destroying our understanding of normal life

On silence and idleness

"Happiness is in the quiet, ordinary things. A table, a chair, a book with a paper-knife stuck between the pages. And the petal falling from the rose, and the light flickering as we sit silent." Virginia Woolf, The Waves Time Moves Slow by Bad Bad Good https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgPQ2J_uM3A “Nothing thicker than a knife's blade separates happiness…

Book Review: Awaken in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-discovery by Mark Coleman

Book Review: Awaken in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-discovery by Mark Coleman

Awaken in the Wild is a really great introductory book about the connection between mindfulness and the natural world. Published in 2006, it feels before its time in terms of the themes of overstimulation from technology and mindfulness. There are around 40 brief and themed sections in the book, with a short lesson and then…

Book Review: A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

Book Review: A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

A Field Guide to Getting Lost is a collection of loosely related essays that expand upon the idea of wandering, being lost and our human sense of the unknown. The essays are insightful, vivid and at times slow-moving. This is a mosaic of cultural history, autobiography, nature writing and artistic criticism that roves far and…

Book Review: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan

Book Review: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan

Book Review: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan There have been a swathe of books lately on how to overcome shyness. This one is my favourite. This memoir recounts the adventures of Quiet American, Jessica Pan as she undertakes a year of living as an extrovert in London. It’s a…

Book Review: Weatherland by Andrea Harris

Book Review: Weatherland by Andrea Harris

Weatherland by Alexandra Harris is a sweeping panorama and magic carpet ride through the history of England using a quirky weathervane to measure the changing culture - the weather. Author Alexandra Harris’ debut book won The Guardian’s Book of the Year. It’s no surprise either because this is a far-reaching, expansive book written in an…

Book Review: Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism by Camille Paglia

Book Review: Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism by Camille Paglia

Contrarian feminist Camille Paglia’s ideas infuriate most feminists. Her ideas are not for the faint-hearted or lilly-livered - she is a sex-positive, pro-abortion transgender woman with a no bullshit, straight-talking style that she combines with playful erudition and poetic pyrotechnics in this book. The New York Times review of her book basically called her a…

Book Review: In Miniature by Simon Garfield

Book Review: In Miniature: How Small Things Illuminate the World by Simon Garfield

Are you fascinated and delighted by small things? Then I’ve found the ultimate book for you. In Miniature: How Small Things Illuminate the World by Simon Garfield. Each chapter delves into a miniature world of its own and there is only a tenuous connection between them, but no matter. All is forgiven because learning all…

Book Review: The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson

Book Review: The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson

The Book of Barely Imagined Beings takes its cue from medieval bestiaries. Author and playful intellectual Caspar Henderson sets out to write a modern compendium of beasts, and show, in the process, that truth is a lot weirder than fiction. Forget about dragons, cyclops and faeries, the world of extant species such as the thorny devil, nautilus and puffer fish are enough to inspire wonder.

Book Review: The Mindfulness Survival Kit by Thich Nhat Hanh

Book Review: The Mindfulness Survival Kit by Thich Nhat Hanh

This is a handy guide for mindfulness for busy people living at full throttle in the world. It's a gentle calling to slow down and to heed the five mindfulness training precepts which are: not to kill, steal, commit adultery, lie, or take intoxicants. These are the basic ethics and morality in Buddhism. Zen master…

Book Review: The Future by Nick Montfort

Book Review: The Future by Nick Montfort

As long as people have been on this planet they have been formulating, imagining and planning for the future. And their individual and collective visions of this – their future-making and how they frame the future says a lot about the present. The Future by Nick Montfort is a fascinating look at futurism. From the…