Weekend Round-Up 2006 #17

I had this theory last week that we'd be swamped in the book review pages over the weekend with non-fiction titles on the ANZAC tradition and war in general. Nope. Didn't happen. Bit different last year when we had four or five in "The Age" alone. Maybe last year being the 90th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli had something to do with it.

There aren't a lot of major reviews in "The Age" this weekend. Mark Rubbo looks at 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die by Peter Boxall et al. It's a monster of a book and follows on from the previous 1001 Movies and 1001 Songs. Rubbo thinks that if you were to read 2 of the titles each week you'd get through the lot in 10 years and three-and-a-half days. "One could do much worse than to use Boxall's list as a basis for reading. It's hard to give a great book much justice in a 300-word blurb - they occasionally read like restaurant descriptions in glossy magazines - but often they are clever and illuminating. For what it is, it's a marvellous achievement and I'll certainly use it to fill my bookseller's shelves and my bookseller's brain."

Will Dyson: Australia's Radical Genius, (which I also have for review), is examined by Neill Jillett - he doesn't seem impressed: "Its muddled sentences often mix verbosity with primness".

The only fiction given a review of any length is Shadowboxing by Tony Birch, and this isn't on the website. "The writing is flat, diffident even in its grace notes, and ploddingly explanatory....But in spite of the numbing quality fo the prose, something carries across." Sounds like it needed another draft or two.

Short notices are given to: When the River Runs Dry: What Happens When Our Water Runs Out? - "This effective, bluntly written study, covers all the trouble spots one earth - including a pessimistic prognosis on the future of the Murray/Darling basin.."; The Park Bench by Henry Von Doussa which "charts the contours of the gay underworld...consistently edgy and evocative, and surprising poignant"; One Man's Journey by Guy Sigley, "an earnest attempt to animate and lionise John McDouall Stuart...a solid fictionalisation of the explorer's life, and, most particularly his desperate desire to cross the Australian continent"; The Single Gentleman's Dating Club by Tony McMahon - "this debit novel is as disorderly as its characters and as rough as the booze they drink"; My Grandad Marches on Anzac day by Catriona Hoy and illustrated by Benjamin Johnson: "the book's overriding message is theneed to remember and respect the men and women of those wars; the ones who we lost and the ones who came home."

"The Australian" doesn't let us down by reviewing Voices of War: Stories from Australians at War Film Archive edited by Michael Caulfield. "The book is likely to have wide appeal because it is aimed at the general reader. There is no need to know in detail the theatres of conflict participants found themselves in to understand their reflections on war...What is immediately apparent is the unadorned honesty and directness of the contributors."

In "The Courier-Mail", Terry Oberg talks to Venero Armanno about his new novel, Candle Life.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 24, 2006 4:08 PM.

Reviews of Australian Books #16 was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Bookcovers #9 - 1915 by Roger McDonald is the next entry in this blog.

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