Mythomania: Tales of Our Times from Apple to ISIS – by Peter Conrad, Thames and Hudson
Several years ago I had listened to most of Peter Conrad’s BBC podcasts on his topic of Myths – and loved them.
I have read just a little of this book so far – but can say that it as good as if not better than listening to the podcasts of Peter’s broadcasts. It is now part of my reading for the next weeks. And there are new topics covered.
Continue reading Mythomania Peter Conrad
Announcement: New Book
Julia Gillard’s – My Story
Happy to promote this book. This story remains complex. There have been several thoughtful reviews of the book published online. As well as the usual crap from the mainstream media, who were part of the problem during Julia Gillard’s time as Prime Minister. Sara Dowse has provided an intelligent and insightful review that is definitely worth reading. click here.
Announcement: New Book
Don Watson’s new book – The Bush
I have read Don Watson’s previous books so I am confident that this new publication will be worth putting aside the time to read. Be warned that this is not a small book. So this one is not for the travellers unless you like to carry a heavy tome with you.
Continue reading Don Watson The Bush
2nd Notice: New Book
Hack Attack by Nick Davies
Just to remind you that this book is worth reading. Sadly the ending is a bit depressing in that Nick considers the power elite have reshuffled a little but carry on a s before.
It has also been interesting to read the story of Rebecca Brooks. The question has been posed elsewhere, was she just a user of the corporate and political systems in order to climb the ladder to join the ranks of those in power?
Continue reading Hack Attack Nick Davies
Announcement: Book – fiction
Mark Henshaw’s The Snow Kimono
I have noted the very positive reviews of this new novel. Mark Henshaw is a local here in Canberra.
The Guardian has it wrong about his former career. Mark was a curator of prints at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. He led a double life for many years as curator and as an author.
Continue reading Mark Henshaw The Snow Kimono
Commentary: George Monbiot
There are lots of good commentators out there who have loads of intelligent views to offer. George Monbiot, author and contributor to the Guardian, is one of these people.
I have quoted from George before and have a few of his books.
Continue reading George Monbiot
Review: New Book
The Economics of Just About Everything: The Hidden Reasons for Our Curious Choices and Surprising Successes in Life. Andrew Leigh, 2014
I have had the pleasure of reading books and articles by Andrew Leigh. He happens to be my local Federal member of the House of Representatives. I have been positive about his writings. I am not so sure about this book.
From the publisher: If you like fresh facts and provocative ideas, this is great train and weekend reading. You’ll soon see the world and the people around you in a new light. I disagree. I may now see Andrew Leigh in a different light.
Continue reading Andrew Leigh Economics of Just About Everything
Notice: New photography book
Fashion Photography Next, Magdalene Keaney
With contributions by Eleanor Weber
I have just seen this new book on the tables at Readings in St Kilda, Melbourne. So that means you can order in Australia and they deliver it for free.
This is a WOW book. It is about photography, about contemporary practice of fashion photography, and it is published in a lavish and stylish book.
Continue reading Fashion Photography Magdalene Keaney
Announcement: New Book on Architecture
Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, 2014, Author: Henri Lefebvre
I’m about to get my hands on a copy of this book. Having read some of the commentary about the author and the concepts he is dealing with, the book reinforces the need for more discussion about the topic of enjoyment of architecture and urban spaces.
My life is already involved with dealing with planning bureaucracies that lack vision and any notion of good design. I have posted several times about the blandness of architecture in our cities.
Continue reading Architecture of Enjoyment
Commentary: Dispute with Amazon gets dirty
Things are getting dirty in the fight between Amazon, publishers and authors.
Continue reading Amazon
Notice: New Book
Hack Attack by Nick Davies
I had read and reviewed Nick Davies former revelatory book, click here. Now Nick follows through with the more worrying story of the damage that has been done to the media following the phone hacking scandals.
Continue reading Nick Davies Hack Attack
Notice: New Book
The Economics of Just About Everything: The Hidden Reasons for Our Curious Choices and Surprising Successes in Life.
Andrew Leigh, 2014
My review will have to follow once I have a copy and have read it. Having received notice of the book, I have been checking several comments online, and knowing Andrew Leigh’s early writings and books, I feel very confident that this will be another good read.
Here is some text copied from the publisher’s site:
Continue reading Andrew Leigh and a new book
Where Song Began: Australia’s Birds and How They Changed the World, Tim Low
Ever now and then along comes a great book. This is one of those. If you already admire Australian birds, this book will still change the way you think about them.
I will never be able to walk past a group of Choughs and not wonder about if one of them has been kidnapped from another group and is now being used as a slave. There are many such fascinating things about birds in this book.
Continue reading Where Song Began: Tim Low
Another Amazon story
France takes a stand against the giant Amazon in an effort to safeguard its own culture of having viable bookstores. Good news for the French. Hope other are watching. Again, it may be time to shop anywhere but at Amazon. Click here.
Paul Costigan, 29 June 2014
100 Canberra Houses: A Century of Capital Architecture / by Tim Reeves and Alan Roberts
This book about housing in Canberra is welcomed by those amongst us who would love to see more good design in the provision of houses in Canberra. Much of Canberra, as with most places internationally, is presently being devastated with loads of new badly designed suburbs as well as very awful blocks of cheaply rendered apartments being foisted on the older inner suburbs. The authors of this book are to be congratulated for illustrating that the architecture for residential properties can be something to be enjoyed.
Continue reading 100 Canberra Houses
Canberra Architecture, Andrew Metcalf
Watermark Architectural Guides, 2003
I picked up this book quiet a while ago but it is only now that I have had time to look through it. I am glad I did, as after reading through quite a bit of it, I have become more aware that Canberra has a reasonable amount of good and notable architecture.
I have a quiet interest in good architecture and have spent some energies complaining about the current crop of badly designed houses and commercial buildings being thrust onto Canberra. Residents have despaired that good design in our civic areas and suburbs has become a thing of the past.
Continue reading Canberra Architecture
The Island at the Centre of the World: The Untold Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Founding of New York, by Russell Shorto, 2004
Surely the citizens of the USA would have by now have worked out the history about their first colonists.
They probably thought so until the research behind this book surfaced and now they can read about the real history from this author, Russell Shorto.
This book is the precursor to Russell Shorto’s later book, Amsterdam, reviewed earlier – click here. Both are fascinating reads.
Continue reading Manhattan: The Island at the Centre of the World
50 People Who Stuffed Up Australia; by Guy Rundle & Dexter Rightwad, 2012
Sometimes I really like Guy Rundle’s style of commentary. But I have to admit that at other times I find I just do not get engaged and do not finish reading his regular online comments and essays.
The latter applies to this book. I just did not take to his style on this subject. It seemed far too exaggerated an effort to bring about a list of 50 well-known people and to twist the stories to class them as people who stuffed up Australia.
Continue reading 50 People Who Stuffed Up Australia
Home: A short history of an idea
by Witold Rybczynski 1986
I bought this book about tens years ago – maybe even more. I can remember starting to read it and thinking what a great little book. Then the business of work interfered with normality and sadly enough time did not materialise again to sit down peacefully and get into this little gem; until now.
I found the book amongst so many other unloved publication the other week and immediately set out to enjoy it fully. I did. I now recommend it highly. What an intelligent and entertaining writer.
Continue reading HOME Witold Rybczynski
Book Review: as posted on Inside Story
Power Failure: The Inside Story of Climate Politics Under Rudd and Gillard
By Philip Chubb, Black Inc.
There’s a good book review uploaded to the online site Inside Story. The book is The Inside Story of Climate Politics Under Rudd and Gillard.
Andrew Dodd provides a thorough overview of Philip Chubb’s insider account of the demise of Kevin Rudd’s climate scheme.
His review males the book to be essential reading. My stack of books is already too high so I have provided this review as a way of tempting others. Click here.
Review: Visual Arts Book
Art as Therapy: Works from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Alain de Botton and John Armstrong
This soft cover book is the guide for the special labels placed around the State Art Gallery of Victoria’s St Kilda Road Venue.
As a first comment I have to say that I was disappointed and was in fact a little taken aback by the style and contents. I am not so sure about how this effort enhances the gallery visit within the NGV*.
Continue reading Art As Therapy NGV
Hope, Refugees and their supporters in Australia since 1947,
Ann-Mari Jordens, 2012
I have mentioned this book in an earlier blog – click here.
I make reference to this great piece of research again as I have been recently disgusted how particular media voices continue to express pride in the current government claims in that they ‘stopped the boats’. This phase has been used in a totally unfeeling manner as if there were not real people involved.
Continue reading Hope
The News, A Reader’s Manual. Alain De Botton
I have pondered on how to react to this little book. It is not really a User’s Manual. It is more of a reality check on what is happening with the news and those who publish it every minute of the day and night.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in thinking again about the news and how news is selected and presented. However I suggest that if you are such a person, then there is a good chance that you are the sort of person who is thinking along these lines already. So why read this book?
Continue reading The News, A Reader’s Manual
Happy City, Charles Montgomery, 2013
From the blurb online:
“A brilliant, entertaining and vital book. Montgomery deftly leads us from our misplaced focus on money, cars and stuff to consider what makes us truly happy. Then everything changes – the way we live, work and play in humanity’s major habitat, the city.” – David Suzuki
Continue reading Happy City
Adelaide, Kerryn Goldsworthy, 2011
This is another of those smallish book published about Australia’s capital cities. I have already reviewed Hobart, by Peter Timms.
I have to confess that I did not take to the book on Adelaide and at times seriously considered giving up. In the end I had a move quickly through whole sections in order to see where the author was going.
Continue reading Adelaide
Hobart, Peter Timms, 2012
Please note this is the 2012 revised edition. The original 2009 edition was titled In Search of Hobart.
This smallish book I picked up for several reasons. I know Peter Timms, I have read and enjoyed his previous writing, I know several people who live in Hobart and it is a city that I have visited for many reasons over several decades.
Peter writes not as a historian or travel writer, or as one doing a tourism promotion. Instead Peter uses a reportage style, he tells stories about people, the places and events. All this is based on research of available documents and interviews and observations of a diversity of people. In summary, this is an interesting read. For whom is a good question.
Continue reading Hobart
Opinion: Recent book on MacMansions
We’ve all seen it. Now someone has traveled around and photographed it happening.
Just a look through this article in SLATE is worrying enough.
(although I have to say that Slate’s new online web site is a mess)
Whitechapel as shown on TV
I actually watch very little live television these days. Most of the programs I watch are bought on DVD. I am yet to do much downloading as I was waiting for the NBN* to arrive (foolish me).
Whitechapel is one of the few exceptions. I have watched this program from the start. We are now in Season Four. The main actors are in interesting bunch and I happen to like good crime and detective stories. Maybe I have been watching too many crime programs of late. In this case I suggest the writers have screwed the plot and this one has descended into farce.
Continue reading Whitechapel
End of the Road?, Gideon Haigh, Pengiun Specials, 2013
It’s a tough life taking an interest in your country. Traditionally the main sources of information for most people has been the media. In the last decade this source has become totally corrupted, especially the mainstream media and the ABC.
When it comes to the rhetoric around the car industry in Australia, the ideological arguments that are trotted out do nothing but harm and mislead. Thank god (or whoever is out there) Penguin has these ‘Penguin Specials’ and thank you to Gideon for his research and information that goes a long way to providing a reality check on where the country is at when it comes to having a car industry.
Continue reading End of the Road?
Great Expectations, Government, Entitlement and an Angry Nation, Laura Tingle 2013
an expanded version of her previous Quarterly Essay
The beginning of the 21st Century is a time when something changed in society due to a rise in the lack of civility and anger over expectations not being addressed. This unrest has surfaced within the larger political debates as well as in more discrete arenas such as companies, community groups, societies and associations.
The media has had a great time fueling this dissatisfaction through the constant emphasis on problems, large, small and imaginary, about our governments. Continue reading Laura Tingle Great Expectations
Battlers & Billionaires, Andrew Leigh 2013
Have you been wondering whether Australia is that egalitarian society we keep talking about especially in comparisons with other western societies?
As I write this review we are witnessing a millionaire, Clive Palmer, use his wealth to buy personal power in the Australian Parliament. At the same time the millionaire clan of Gina Rinehart and her children are locked in some court battle over a family feud over their millions. Continue reading Battlers & Billionaires
Take Your Best Shot, The Prime Ministership of Julia Gillard, Jaqueline Kent 2013
It was a very strange three or so years in Australian politics. It remains difficult to make sense of it all.
The media, Tony Rabbot, Kevin Rudd and his ruddites and the shock jocks all part of the murky times. Then there was the uncivilised behaviour that morphed into accepted everyday behaviour and all those supposedly close colleagues who turn on you. What a time for anyone!
Continue reading Take Your Best Shot
The Misogyny Factor, Anne Summers
It was a month or so after our First Women Prime Minister had been removed from her position and following a number of not so nice events in my own life that I had started to wonder just what is happening to our Australian way of life and culture. What has happened to civility and respect.
There is a generation or two who seem to think that feminism is a cause now won and we should move on.
I find that certain men and women are fully capable of all sorts of weasel words about equality and the role of women in the workplace and act as if they champion such matters. Continue reading Misogyny Factor