Jo Case is a writer and mother whose son Leo was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome after some time of social problems. Jo views the news with a mixture of feelings, which isn’t surprising. Relief at a final diagnosis but also some fear about what it means for Leo and his future. As she throws herself into reading about Asperger’s, she recognises aspects of herself, her father and her brother in the literature. She comes to the view that they are all within the Asperger’s spectrum. She is reluctant to get a definitive diagnosis for herself her main fear being whether she can be a good mother if she really has Aspergers. Jo writes really well, and isn’t afraid to paint herself warts and all. She is at different times irrational, moody and fearful, but she tells it like it is. I think this is a very good contribution to the available literature on Aspergers.
Category Archives: Non-fiction Reviews
Few things are as quitessentially Melbourne as our laneways… Finding a bar down a laneway down a laneway that you love and have zero chance of ever finding your way back to is all part of a visit to, or indeed a life in, Melbourne. So it’s a wonder this book didn’t happen a lot earlier. From laneways lined with street art and bins and not much else to some of Melbournes busiest and most well known shopping strips, Laneways of Melbourne by Kornelia Freeman and Ulo Pukk supplies a little bit of history a long with information on what you’ll find on any particular laneway. This lovely photographic guide starts at the beginning, with AC/DC lane and takes you through the alphabet all the way to the slightly more surprising Wharf St. This book is so chock full of places I’ve never even heard of, let alone been to, I’m starting to wonder if I’m really Melburnian! There are all sorts of wonders to be found in our laneways; from art installations to cafes, architecture to history. And with this book in hand all you have to do to find it, is go for a walk.
A great gift for a lover of Melbourne, or a visitor. PB, $19.95.
The Crafty Minx at Home by Kelly Doust – everything I never knew I needed to know about be-ribboning a hat stand.
First there was The Crafty Minx, the The Crafty Kid. Now the Minx has gone home…and branched out a little. Whether you are interested in turning ladders into shelves and fabric into art, or perhaps in sewing yourself a new make up case or be-ribboning your hat stand, this book has it all. Starting in the entrance hall and working room by room all the way to the backyard there is even a chapter on things for the laundry (Called ‘Next to godliness’ no less)! Not only are there beautiful and environmentally ideas on every page but this book is full of space saving ideas, display advice and general decorating tips. This book is a treasure trove of feminine, vintage and vintage-inspired ideas for the home, that are also almost universally practical…or at the very least, pretty to look at! From my first flick through I was itching to get home to try some of the ideas! As a large format paperback, all this inspiration is just $40.
The QI Elves must be some of the most annoying people to play Trivial Pursuit with, ever. It’s impossible to watch an episode of the show without filing away some surprising/obscure/useless fact that comes in handy many moons later at a pub trivia night and makes you look like a genius. And now there’s a fact book! With no less than 1,227 facts, you’ll never stop annoying people with your useless knowledge of who played the first international sports fixture in 1844, (USA vs Canada) and what sport they played. In a brief canvassing of opinion, no one guesses correctly, which is fun (it’s cricket). You’ll learn that a pocketful of Brazil nuts is so radioactive it’ll set off the alarm in a nuclear power station, forty is the only English number spelt in alphabetical order and Venus rotates so slowly on its own axis that its day is longer than its year. I could go on, but I won’t because you should read it. The QI Factbook is hardback, $20.
Beci Orpin is a well renowned designer with background in textiles and graphics, and a creative spirit through and through. This book is more than just a book of craft projects, it is also a look into the life and mind of a truly creative person. You might think her designs ring familiar if you have visited the Taco Truck that roams the streets of the inner north, because she did all the graphics for them.
Seperated into interesting chapters, Out and About projects might include a graphic skateboard ramp, a kite or perfect picnic snacks. Studio projects will inspire you to use vintage postcards as art, go pom pom crazy and make an inspiration wall out of just about anything. Home projects are more along the lines of dream catchers, mobiles and cake stencils. It’s all good, really. Beautiful photography from Chris Middleton completes this crafters dream of a book; all at once Find and Keep is interesting, inspirational and practical. What more could you want?
My favourite thing about writing this blog is all the awesome projects I’ve found that I want to make, including the things we could do for a window display… My least favourite thing is now I really want to buy it! Hardback, $39.95.
Malthouse: A Football Life
by Christi Malthouse, HB $50.00
Mick Malthouse is one of the great football people of the modern era. After playing 174 tough games for St Kilda and Richmond, Mick went on to become a brilliant coach, taking both West Coast and Collingwood from the bottom of the ladder to premiership glory.
His daughter, Christi, has written a great biography which looks at his entire public and private life. She provides great insight into the man behind the scenes and aspects of his life and personality that would be unknown to most.
There can be no doubt that Mick Malthouse has had a fascinating career and changed the lives of hundreds of young footballers. This book is funny, insightful and warm; a great gift for any football fan!
Insulting book titles are a good attention grabber; but it was the subtitle of David McRaney’s You Are Not So Smart that really drew me in. “Why your memory is MOSTLY FICTION, why you have too many FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself.” I studied psychology at university so McRaney is very much in my wheel house here, but this is a book for people with even a passing interest in the way we think and behave. Pop psychology has a bit of a negative stigma that it doesn’t really deserve but McRaney’s blog of the same name is doing its bit to remind everyone that psychology can be cool. It’s interesting to read about the misconceptions that govern the way we think and live but people generally don’t enjoy having every sentence end in (Boredom, 1999), or have access to psychological journals for light reading.
So have you ever wondered more about why you Procrastinate (Chapter 6)? Or the benefits and costs of group work (Social Loafing, Chpt 35)? In the chapter on the Bystander Effect, McRaney will have you shocked and appalled at our tendency to defer responsibility onto others, a tendency that gets worse the more ‘others’ are around. Chapter 13 on Brand Loyalty is a good one:
“The Misconception: You prefer the things you own over the things you don’t because you made rational choices when you bought them.
The Truth: You prefer the things you own because you rationalise your past choices to protect your sense of self.”
Disappointed? Fascinated? Intrigued even? This could be the book for you. As for why you have too many friends on facebook well, you might have to read it to find that out…
With many of the big supermarkets and department stores doing a pretty good job of convincing everyone Christmas is just around the corner, it’s not too surprising that some great gifty Christmas releases are now gracing our shelves. The John Lennon Letters is edited by The Beatles official biographer, Hunter Davies, published with special permission from Yoko Ono. Take in a range of Lennon’s letters, lists, doodles, postcards and notes written to a surprising range or friends, family, newspapers and even the laundry. 250 missives make up this collection found through dealers and collectors along with original recipients, organised in chronological order. Reproductions of many of the notes along with doodles and cartoons mean this is a visual journey as well as a literary one, providing a fascinating window into the mind of such an iconic musician and artist. The John Lennon Letters will make a wonderful, lasting gift this holiday season. Even if its for yourself…Hardback, $45.
I think most Australians have heard of Changi prison, and of the terrible stories of the atrocities committed by the Japanese army on the prisoners of war there during the Second World War. Tim Bowden has taken a familiar topic and given it a unique twist by telling the story from the point of view of one young soldier. Private George Aspinall, an 18 year old from Wagga Wagga, was marched to Changi with the other prisoners after the fall of Singapore in February 1942, and subsequently worked on the Thai-Burma Railway. He was a keen photographer, and managed to capture many rare images of life in the camp during his three and a half years of incarceration. Almost 100 of his photographs are reproduced in this remarkable book, providing a powerful and immediate insight into the dreadful conditions and treatment endured by the inmates. An extraordinary and important record of events, the photographs were later used in evidence during the War Crimes trials. An absolute must in any Australian military history collection. Hardback, $35
Strike a pose!
Fashion bible, Vogue, has recently released four books about the most iconic fashion designers of the 21st century. These geniuses of the modern age include Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen and Elsa Schiaparelli. The highly detailed and gorgeously illustrated hardbacks have original fashion sketches, photographs and images originally commissioned for Vogue, and lots of detail about the designers’ vision and drive.
This is one for the collectors, the fashion savvy, and modern history lovers alike!
Available an individual hardbacks for $29.95
or a a boxset for $89.95