The Book is Better: Kids Are Creepy

The horror genre has been in a worsening condition for a while: things were going downhill, and maybe Saw was the gravestone.

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The Book is Better: Inherent Darkness

The science building at Mt Gravatt High School was a shadowy two levels; linoleum and strong, cheap timber which shone with varnish.

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Annotations: Bad Behaviour by Mary Gaitskill

The migraines are getting worse. The doctor refuses to renew my prescription medication.

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Little Things: Künstler

Künstler is a small (seriously small) magazine and book store in Winn Lane in Brisbane. We sell specialised print publications from independent publishers about art, architecture, design, fashion, food, and literature.

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The Book is Better: The Bret Easton Ellis Universe Reboot Development Doc., 2014

Less than Zero (dir. Roger Avary, co-written Avary/Ellis) is the first installment of a series in desperate need of a consolidated and canonical update.

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The Book is Better: Not True Crime, But Real Crime

Australian film-makers have produced two of the darkest, deepest, and most affecting films in my recent memory — Animal Kingdom  and Snowtown.

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Little Things: NYC lit rag round-up

I was in New York over Christmas and New Years, generally trying to avoid participating in both events. Instead I bought a bunch of literary journals and here’s some of my favourites.

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The Book is Better: Raining Men

Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, played by Tommy Lee Jones, sits at a table in a diner. He’s just heard reports of a roadside shooting with no evident bullet and offers an idle thought to his partner.

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The Book is Better: Let Slip to the Ground, the Green Dress of Reality

I finished reading Atonement on a plane, in the limbo between living and non-existence, time and the absence of time.

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Little Things: Behind the Scenes of Issue IV

It’s been almost six months since we closed submissions to our fourth journal issue, and we’ve been pretty quiet about it since.

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The Book is Better: Do You Have Tyler Durden on Facebook?

“The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.” And we still don’t.

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Little Things: Sam Cooney talks independent publishing and metaphorical spatulas

When I was young and living in Brisbane I used to go to these BYO parties under an abandoned sex shop in a suburb that crested the city. One time, I went to a launch there of something called The Lifted Brow, and I sat on an esky in the corner for most of the night

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The Book is Better: Jack & Kevin

“The effect of a truly execrable adaptation is worse than neutral. The stink rubs off,” said Lionel Shriver, in an effort to quantify her relief after seeing the film adaptation of We Need To Talk About Kevin.

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Going Down Swinging: The Jesus Issue

Going Down Swinging No. 33 is known as the Jesus issue. In his editorial, Geoff Lemon discusses how the works in the issue have a dash of ‘Saviour flavour’.

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The Lifted Brow Issue 15

The theme of this issue of The Lifted Brow is ‘interloping’, promising stories about intrusion and being in places where writers don’t belong.

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Rex 4, The Odds & Ends Issue

Any journal that actively houses early-career writers will inevitably face a challenge in providing a space for new voices, while still delivering a product of high literary standard.

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Dear Graeme Simsion

My name’s Sonya and last Monday, 11 February, I perched myself in the fifth row at your packed Avid Reader salon event.

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Dear Margaret Atwood

Reading your books has taught me that a good writer should always hold out until the very end.  It is a lesson I learned while I should have been sleeping.

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Dear Tom Cho

I was headed to Greystone Bar for a reading salon courtesy of BWF. I was keen to hear the David Unaipon winner, and see Christian Lander.

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Erin Ward Considers The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Usually I watch horror movies at home with the lights on so I can bail if it gets too scary. By usually I mean that one time I watched The Ring a decade ago.

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Dear Michelle de Kretser

he week before I came to see you speak at Avid Reader, I was sitting in a 1970s caravan, immured in the smell of moisture-warped chipboard, and reading The Lost Dog.

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Claire Hielscher reads An Imaginary Life by David Malouf

The mythical, removed world of the Roman poet Ovid is brought into stark reality through David Malouf’s energetic and compelling novel, An Imaginary Life.

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Dear Josephine Rowe

Hi! Hey! Howdy! I am writing to draw your attention back to an event you did at Avid Reader in August, and to tell you how great that event was.

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Georgia Dixon reads Gaysia by Benjamin Law

Adventures in the Queer East sounds exciting, mystical and fun, but note to selves: Benjamin Law’s latest creation is much, much more.

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Adelaide Saurerman remembers John Marsden

You are ten years old. It is summer.

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Elizabeth Tucker remembers Beverly Clearly

When I was young I was in love with the characters of KlickitatStreet created by Beverly Cleary.

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Sian Campbell remembers Ann M. Martin

When I was young, I read… indiscriminately. I read ‘highbrow’ kid’s lit – Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Robinson Crusoe, Little House on the Prairie – and supplemented it with pulp trash like Animorphs, Sweet Valley and Saddle Club.

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Sam Maguire remembers R.L. Stine

I asked my mother where my stash of old Goosebumps books was and she told me that it was in storage in a box out in the shed.

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Teagan Sydes remembers Margaret Wild

I never owned this book, which sadly was impossible to find in any bookstores even though it once appeared on Playschool, to my incredible delight, and was seemingly quite popular.

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Alana Eising remembers Joanne Harris

I first read Joanne Harris’s Chocolat  when I was thirteen. My parents were dragging me across northern Queensland and up into the Territory.

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Lucy Babbage remembers Nadia Wheatley

At the age of 11, my godmother – who always gifted me with really meaningful, age-appropriate puberty books that featured my name in some variation – gave me a copy of Nadia Wheatley’s Lucy in the Leap Year.

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Peter Mason remembers Emily Rodda

I was nine when I first read Emily Rodda’s Deltora Quest: The Forests of Silence, published way back in 2000, the beginning of an eight book series.

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Asja reads Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett

The tagline for Sonya Harnett’s Butterfly is ‘Who ever forgets what happens when you’re fourteen?’ This little teaser succinctly bundles up the essence of the book, as well as the catastrophe of the central protagonist Plum Coyle.

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Oliver reads Our Man In Havana by Graham Greene

A novel which fuses two popular themes – an ostensibly light-hearted satire with a gritty espionage thriller set during the Cold War – is sure to create a great synergy.

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Claire reads Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee

Sensuality, possession and redemption consistently dominant the landscape of J.M Coetzee’s novel Waiting for the Barbarians.

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Melissa reads Just Kids by Patti Smith

Part elegy, part bildungsroman, Patti Smith’s Just Kids recounts the formative years in the lives of Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe, lovers and friends, muses, and makers.

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Katia reads The Rest is Weight by Jennifer Mills

The first story in Jennifer Mills’s twenty-seven strong collection hit me with the force of a well-cocked punch in the guts.

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Sophie reads All That I Am by Anna Funder

Following high praise for her first non-fiction work Stasiland and rave reviews for her first novel All That I Am it’s no surprise Anna Funder went on to win the 2012 Miles Franklin Literary Award just a few weeks ago.

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Josh reads The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

So enters Kvothe (pronounced very nearly like Quothe) stage left, the master storyteller, thief, liar, musician, and arcanist.

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Claire reads King Rat by China Mieville

The London underground becomes a labyrinth of myth, music, shadows, and murder, as archaic scores previously unsettled are brought to the fore in China Miéville’s first novel, King Rat.

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Grace reads The Hanging Garden by Patrick White

Sometimes, a few minutes after experiencing that glorious feeling that comes with finishing a good book, I will find myself wondering how much of what I’ve just read is truly the author’s creation, and how much was altered by someone else during the editorial process.

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Tim reads The Casuals by Sally Breen

Sally Breen’s The Casuals was garnering interest for years before it hit bookshelves in July 2011.

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James reads Triptych by Krissy Kneen

When I talk to people about Krissy Kneen’s Triptych, I often come to a crossroad. A bestiality crossroad.

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Krissy Kneen’s response to Electricity for Beginners

Your skin is too pale in the moonlight, the covers kicked off and your bare hip protruding. It is cold now although when we creaked into bed it was warm enough.

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Bronte reads Electricity for Beginners by Michelle Dicinoski

When I ask people if they like poetry I often get told that, no, they don’t understand it. It’s too pretentious, it’s outdated, or it’s just too hard.

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Michelle Dicinoski’s response to The Casuals by Sally Breen

My friend Lisa used to send me chain emails. Not the awful kind that promised instant wealth, just messages of love and friendship that were sometimes accompanied by animated rainbows or teddy bears. But still, they had a dark side.

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Samuel reads The Orchard by Drusilla Modjeska

If there is a difficulty in reviewing Drusilla Modjeska, it is that as a writer and academic she is intimidating. How could there be a greater authority than the author, when the author is also a critic?

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Sally Breen’s response to The Promise of Iceland by Kari Gislason

Dear Kari, One question surfaced a lot for me while reading your memoir The Promise of Iceland  and sparked off many others … what is it about fathers?

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Krysi reads The Promise of Iceland by Kari Gislason

I could tell you that The Promise of Iceland is about a secret liaison between an Australian-British woman and a married Icelandic man, or perhaps that it is a story of a youth overshadowed by the promise made by this woman and their son not to reveal the man’s identity.

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Kari Gislason’s response to The Ottoman Motel by Christopher Currie

There is more than one moment in life when parents disappear.

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Maggie reads Get a Grip by Kaz Cooke

One day Kaz Cooke came into my work and gave me a book.  ‘Here, want this? It’s going out of print,’ she said, and handed me Get a Grip.

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Sian reads The Ottoman Motel by Christopher Currie

I can’t be certain of course, but I believe the first time I met Christopher Currie properly, I climbed on top of him, screeched unintelligible things about life into his ear, and tried to peer-pressure him into sculling down leftover wine with me “for the sake of the party”.

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Christopher Currie’s response to Brisbane’s Budget Bites by Mei Yen Chua

Back on Logan Road the night has broken into blue. Jenny still moves although the music has gone. You wonder how the night has come to this point. How all this has ended up in one street, in one city, in one country.

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Jack reads Brisbane’s Budget Bites 2012 by Mei Yen Chua

My first few years of living in Brisbane were not marked with great culinary endeavours.

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Mei Yen Chua’s response to Tripytch by Krissy Kneen

My experience of reading erotic literature started quite young.

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Wendy reads Princesses and Pornstars by Emily Maguire

In 2009 I was at one of Avid Bookshop’s salon events promoting Emily Maguire’s third novel, Smoke in the Room.

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Tim reads Girl Most Likely by Rebecca Sparrow

When Rebecca Sparrow’s debut novel came out in 2003, I was probably the boy least likely to pick it up.

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Tim reads Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

Possibly the longest it ever took me to read a book was with Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One.  I was nine when I picked it up, fifteen when I put it down.

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Bronte reads Brothers & Sisters by Charlotte Wood

In this anthology Charlotte Wood has gathered together the voices of different writers to explore themes of jealousy, resentment, longing, betrayal, rivalry, and manipulation. Remind you of anyone?

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James reads The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

I’ve written about my predisposition to the morbid on this here website before, so in an effort not to repeat myself, one would think I would venture to new territory, keep it fresh, walk a new path and plenty of other tired cliches.

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Maggie reads You’ll be sorry when I’m Dead by Marieke Hardy

In the first chapter of You’ll Be Sorry When I’m Dead Marieke Hardy talks about her obsession with prostitutes. 

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Bronte reads many books

Laura van den Berg explores issues of loss and grief through these stories of women adrift in their own lives.

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The Favourites: Christopher Przewloka on The Broken Shore

Whenever a self-professed ‘literary’ reader asks me what I study at University, more often than not, I lie to them.

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Maggie reads The True History of the Kelly Gang

Legend in my family has it that my great, great grandmother was good friends with Ned Kelly’s sister Kate. 

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The Favourites: Kathy George on Atonement

When I first read Atonement, shortly after it was published in 2001, my connection to it was instantaneous.

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The Favourites: Wendy Murphy on The Chrysalids

Whether it’s Triffid-killing seawater, or the common cold cure for invading Martians, the ‘god from the machine’ ending has always been for me part of the guilty pleasure and nostalgic delight of classic science fiction novels.

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The Favourites: Krysi Egan on The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I’m not going to lie; I love this book so much it hurts a little. Our courtship has been brief, a whirlwind if you please.

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The Favourites: Madeleine Bendixen on Voss

I’ve never grieved for another book the way I grieved for Voss. When I came to its last page, I felt sick with distress at the thought that the book was not endless.

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The Favourites: Alana Eising on I Capture The Castle

I write this sitting at my desk in my stifling Brisbane bedroom, the sash window stuck and air-conditioning broken.

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The Favourites: James Butler on pessimism

Working in a book shop, a place where you get customers asking for recommendations just as often as small talk about the Kindle, my favourite novel is a question I should be able to muster up an answer to.

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Katia reads The Children’s Bach by Helen Garner

In year twelve I had a fabulous teacher called Greta, and Greta let us call her by her first name.

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The Favourites: Ryan Sim on The Secret History

I originally picked up this book for two reasons. The first was Donna Tartt’s well-documented association with Bret Easton Ellis, who I already loved, and who originally spurred my interest in writing. 

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The Favourites: Emma Doolan on Pride & Prejudice

A few years ago, a woman walked into the bookshop where I worked and asked for Jane Austen.

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The Favourites: Sian Campbell on a little bit of everything

This year, because I am mentally unstable, I have decided to participate in NaNoWriMo.

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Bronte reads Animal People by Charlotte Wood

Stephen is a character from Charlotte’s earlier novel The Children – a story of siblings reunited when their father is critically injured.

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Sam Maguire samples some German beers

It is your first beer of the night. The bartender gives you a glass as tall as a small child and lets you pour the beer yourself.

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Maggie reads The Fix by Nick Earls

I read all of Nick Earls’ books when I was in high school, and laughed so hard that Mum used to come into my room to see if I was okay. 

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Duncan McKimm tells us about rereading a childhood classic

It’s a strange feeling when people you grew up with begin to have children.

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Jack reads Mack Bolan: The Fire Eaters by Don Pendleton

At the time of purchase I was half drunk but even then I immediately knew I’d made a mistake.

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Maggie reads Tree of Man by Patrick White

When I was sixteen I read Johnno by Brisbane’s beloved David Malouf and from that point on I have been addicted to books with ‘Australian-ness’. 

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