Home Make This My Home Page 13 August 2004
Book Reviews

6th August with Leighton Smith

True Crime   Jake Arnott   Sceptre    $26.95

Third book in the series following The Long Firm and He Kills Coppers. Celebrity gangster is telling his story via a ghostwriter but the past is not something other members of the family want to dwell on especially when his ex is making her way on TV as an actress in a soap opera. Real Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels stuff with a real whiff of the Krays. Arnott takes you through the streets of London like a real crim.


Snobs   Julian Fellowes   Archetype   $34.95

Modern day Brideshead Revisited story of a young woman marrying into the aristocracy and discovering rather than living like the rich and famous they live like penny-pinching royalty and she also has a formidable mother-in-law looking after her precious son’s interests to boot. Full of weekend house parties and misunderstandings and eventually true love. Fun and froth from the director of Gosford Park.


In Another Light    Andrew Greig   Archetype   $34.95

A tale of fathers and sons and discovering that the person you thought you knew had another life. Feeling his father around him when going through a life-threatening illness triggers a series of events whereby the past is brought to light. Set in Scotland and Penang Malaysia the story flicks back and forth from the thirties to the present and from a young doctor setting out for the colonies to his son coming to terms with his own mortality.


Rio De Janeiro    Roy Castro    Bloomsbury   $34.95

Another in the delightful Writers on Travellers series and this time we are taken on an adventure through the streets of Rio accompanied by the very able author Ruy Castro. From the millionaires avenues to the shantytowns in the hills to Carnival and the beaches the vibrancy that is Rio is caught between the pages of this book purely for your edification and wonder. Super.


30th July  With Leighton Smith

Selection of children’s books and teen reads including

Lizzie Maguire from Reed

Gossip Girl from Allen and Unwin

Holes by Louis Sachar

Zombie Bums From Uranus    Andy Griffiths

Voodoo Doll from Harper Collins

Mary-Kate and Ashley from Harper Collins


23rd July with Leighton Smith

Domesday Book   Thomas Hind   South Pacific    $44.95

A look at one of the great historical documents of all time. They went out and counted, listed, taxed and defined the counties, villages that still exist in England some 900 years later. A real who was who of the landowners and farmers of the past.

The Master Colm Toibin    Picador   $34.95

A novel set around the life and times of Henry James. Colm Toibin has blended a clever mix of fact and fiction into this neat piece of literature. The dour and slightly dismal Henry James is feted by society which he reproduces in his novels such as Washington Square and the Bostonians whereas in truth his own life was rather sad and shambolic.

Queen of the South    Arturo Perez Reverte   Allen and Unwin  $34.95

Teresa Mendoza is a narcos moll from down Mexico way. When she gets the call that means she should make a run for it she escapes from Mexico and ends up in Spain. Because of past debts she is still involved with gangs and drugs and the dark side of life. This spiffing story traces the 12 years since her escape and the finale is as good as it gets. Go back and read his other books.


Lance Armstrong Images of a Champion   Rodale   $49.95

There were few doubters that Armstrong could pull off yet another brilliant win in the Tour de France and he did indeed go on to break yet another record. The photographs capture the atmosphere and the pressure he puts himself through to get the coveted Yellow Jersey. This is a tribute to the man and his magnificent achievements.



2nd July   With Leighton Smith

Mind Mapping For Kids   Tony Buzan    $39.95

Large format and full of colour this book helps kids to organise their minds for study. Setting out the plans for mind mapping will help not only the learning process but also revision. Adults could gain from taking a peek at this book. Suitable for those from about 11 to 14. A good family investment.

Killing Juanita   Peter Rees   Allen and Unwin   $34.95

The true story of a criminal case that has yet to be fully solved. Juanita Nelson was an activist and newspaper owner in Sydney. In 1975 she disappeared from a club in Kings Cross her body has yet to be found but all the clues point to property developers and club land gangsters who wanted her out of the way after she continually drew attention to the fact that they were demolishing the heart of Sydney for the sake of shoddy office blocks. Peter Rees has done an incredible job piecing together the information that makes Killing Juanita a fascinating story and one of the great-unsolved crimes in Australian history.


Love in Shades of Grey    Glynne McLean    Penguin  $28

Seriously engrossing and erotic. This is life death and selling your soul. The day Claire gets the commission to compose an opera she also learns that she has a terminal illness. She does a deal with a man thinking she has nothing to lose but life proves to be a bit more complicated than that. Touch of Josephine Hart in this dark tale.

Paranoia   Joseph Finder    Allen and Unwin   $35.00

Young Adam Cassidy signs a few chits to give his friend in the loading bay a good send off. When he is threatened with the police or helping his company he opts for the espionage role. What he discovers is that he is very good at it and able to make himself a lot of money. Trouble is each time he gains he sabotages one of his friends and pretty soon life is looking very bleak. Finder looks set for a career up the bestseller charts a la Harlan Coben, Lee Child with his new look thriller. Believable and readable, what more could one ask for?



25th June  With Leighton Smith.

The Rebel    Jack Dann   Flamingo   $34.95

Great “ What if “ novel. A young James Dean is having a thing with his girlfriend the young Marilyn Monroe. Things are not running too smoothly for him on the film set and he goes for a drive. The car- as we all know crashes- but now he is pulled from the wreckage by Jack Dann and history is rewritten. Dean mixes with the Kennedy’s and Sinatra and gossip and scandal are close by. A tried and true concept which once more works in the author’s favour.

My Life Bill Clinton   Random House   $65.

Big, bold and reading like his sanitised diary. Clinton documents his life and times. It is a substantial book and as we know he lived in interesting times and his place in history has been assured if only by Whitewater and Monica and a very angry Hillary.

Notes on a Scandal    Zoe Heller   Penguin    $27.95

Set in London and written by smart journalist Zoe Heller this clever dark story has a sharp edge. Sheba and Barbara are staffroom colleagues; Sheba has a torrid affair with one of her pupils and is caught. As a friend, Barbara offers support, but there are strings attached and a strong controlling streak emerges from the quiet retiring Barbara.


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