One of the most underrated WA books of the last few years …
The Sixth Extinction: an Unnatural Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
Although it is eloquently and dispassionately argued, Kolbert’s new book about the massive extinctions happening around the world makes depressing reading. Mostly because it is so clearly alarming and yet humans for whatever reason aren’t reacting urgently. This seeming unfathomable counter-intuitive – lies quietly at the centre of this book.
It took thousands of years for mammoths and giant ground sloths to become extinct. For geologists, these millennia are considered “geologically instantaneous”. We are witnessing a similar mass extinction in a lifetime.
The last time this many species went extinct this quickly was 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit the earth causing a long global winter. Human impact over the last 100 years is thus the equivalent of a similar meteorological collision. Will we be able to slow the rate of extinction? Do we care? What will the cascading effects of mass species collapse be?
Very interesting book as much for its scientific cataloguing of extinctions, as for what it says about human nature.
A gentleman among pro-wrestlers of the 80s, Andre the Giant was a legend and his life is poignantly represented here by Box Brown in his graphic biography. Known to another generation for his role in the movie ‘The Princess Bride’, he became an acclaimed figure in popular culture.
Born Andre Roussimoff, Andre had a condition which meant he never stopped growing, peaking at seven and a half feet tall, and weighing over 600 pounds. While he knew early that his life would be short, he lived his life to the full and honourably.
Box Brown’s graphic portrayal reflects his own love of Andre and wrestling generally. Contributions from many characters, including Hulk Hogan and Robin Wright.
One of the most underrated books of the last couple of years, review by WA author, Annabel Smith.
Peter Docker’s The Waterboys is both a historical novel and a speculative fiction, an adventure story and a contemporary myth or ‘dreaming’. The relationship between indigenous Australians and white settlers is made so new in Docker’s telling that the shock and horror of it hits you as if you are learning it for the first time.
Set simultaneously in the future and in a reimagined past, the novel tells the story of a young whitefulla named Conway, who has taken on the ways of the blackfullas. In a not too distant future in which whites control the nation’s water through a military-style corporation, Conway and his spiritual brother Mularabone are part of a movement waging guerrilla warfare on the whites, stealing the water and returning it to Country, where it belongs. Read More
David Whish-Wilson will be at Crow Books Wednesday 9th of April.
Zero at the Bone is a great crime novel set in Perth. As readers of Perth: a History will know, David’s knowledge and love of Perth permeates his work.
See link below for details and RSVP.
Boldly going…to their graves.
Set in the near future where space is the final forgotten frontier The Explorer is a suspenseful temporal thriller that keeps readers guessing until the end. Cormac Easton, a journalist attached to the first manned expedition into deep space, is seen by the crew as an appeasement to the media and private corporations who funded the expedition. Useless and without any other role except to record the ships and its crew’s progression in this monumental undertaking, he is suspect. However, things go from bad to worse on the journey, and the crew begin dying one by one, seemingly by accident, until Cormac is the only one remaining whilst the ship continues onwards. Read More
“Peschak makes an eloquent visual case for the sublimity of sharks—and also for their conservation. He notes that the media still devotes far more attention to rare shark attacks than to the urgent need to protect them from human depredation, especially the shark fin trade. . . . Great conservation photography like Peschak’s, one must hope, will have the power to change attitudes globally.” review – Atlantic
We the Animals is a novella of real power. Short and muscular, it follows three brothers living in an impoverished, dysfunctional New York. Like an ugly rock that’s been polished up, Torres’ debut is both raw and compelling. I read it in one sitting, then picked it up the next night and read it again. One of the best reads this year (2013).
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls – David Sedaris
From dysfunctional families, to foreign countries to taxidermied pygmies Sedaris’ 8th collection of travel stories and anecdotes does not disappoint. For both fans and new readers alike, Sedaris’s usual wit and self-deprecating charm map his descent into middle age and shares more of his family’s secrets in tales both varied and hilarious. From his father’s obsession with colonoscopies to satirical essays on the average American republican everything in ‘Lets Explore…’ touches something in the reader’s own life, even if it is as ordinary as litter on the side of the road. Read More
The Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments is an introductory book about critical thinking. Using quirky illustrations Almossawi demonstrates common errors in reasoning. Bad Arguments has proved popular with students but also with general readers, serving as a nice primer on logical fallacies.