Updated 9th September 2009.
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This page contains REGULAR REVIEWS . Books of interest, either from our own collections or from publishers. Review copies of new releases can be sent to
JT at CB&M, PO Box 781, Katoomba NSW 2780, Australia.

Adult Fiction | Biographies and other non-fiction | Children's Books | Local History | Movie and TV-related | Reference (all genres)

Adult Fiction Latest read at the top

BOMBER by Len Deighton, my edition J Cape 1st, 1970
A bomber Command mission over Germany on the night of June 31st, 1943, seen through the eyes of all concerned on both sides of the event. That one sentence tells you what this book is about but it is of course much more, a tour de force from one of the best of modern authors. At 494 pages this is a long novel, yet there's not a wasted sentence or even, word. It took me many weeks to reach the end, which seems to come at a rush once you've passed the point of the planes having dropped their bombs. It's a savage indictment of modern warfare. Once you've met the cast as it were, and seen their systematic demise so graphically described, reading the final chapters may leave you shaken, sweating, visibly moved, but you will keep reading to the bitter, bitter end! Yes, there's no June 31st, but you're sure the scenes described are close to the truth so brilliantly portrayed. This book is a 'must read' for those who appreciate masterful writing even if war novels aren't your usual genere. They aren't mine, but I'm happy to recommend this book to one and all. A best seller of its time, there should be many cheap copies available. (JT 3.07)

IT by Stephen King, 1986, my edition H&S pb 1990
Stunning novel from the master storyteller of the 20th century. In short, a tale of a group of friends who come together in childhood to fight a mysterious force which permiates their town of Derry in Maine, USA. Twenty five years later they are summoned back to Derry by the only friend who remained behind. Their memories are hazy yet they know they must return to reform - what? Despite running to over 1100 pages, this book keeps you turning over each page in order to solve the mystery and face shock after shock, revelation after revelation. Wonderful characterisations which take you inside the heart and mind of each child, then back 25 years later to find out how each has changed. Reading this book is like taking a seat on the world's biggest and scariest roller coaster. Once aboard though, you won't want to get off. If you've never read a SK novel before and find the early chapters hard going, move to part 2, chapter 2! (JT 3.03)

A CITY OF BELLS by Elizabeth Goudge, Duckworth London, 1936 (review c. 1964 rep)
This fictional story is set in a small English cathedral town around the turn of the century. Jocelyn Irvin has returned from the Boer War with a 'game' leg and isn't too sure of his next move in life. He comes to stay with his grandfather and two adopted children who will show him a meaning to life and will see him running a small bookshop in Torminster. He will also meet Felicity Summers. An enjoyable, amusing, sentimental story which will leave you feeling good, inside and out. (JT 1.99)

Both of these crime mysteries come from the fertile mind of America's JOHN DUNNING, the best crime writer it has ever been my pleasure to devour, hour after hour, until the very last page. Both are centred on the Denver secondhand book trade. The first involves the death of a 'runner' (an individual who acts as a kind of an 'in-betweener' or book scout, buying books from a variety of sources and selling to book dealers). The second involves a private press (a publisher, usually an individual, whose interest is in the production of the book rather than the content) edition of Poe's 'The Raven' and attempts to locate the whereabouts of a previously unseen edition. Murders and a kidnapping lay before ex-cop and now bookseller Cliff Janeway in his search for The Truth - and The Book! (John, 1997)
'Booked to Die' is on loan to a friend at the moment so I don't have the publishing details but I assume it is also a Warner Book. 'The Bookman's Wake' was published by the latter in 1996, in trade paperback ISBN 0 7515 1496 9. First published in 1995 by Charles Scribner's Sons. Does anyone have a contact address for author John Dunning?

Published by Reid/Rastar, PO Box 237, WYONG NSW 2259, Australia, ISBN 0 949149 42X Retail price Au$18 plus if applicable Au$1.80 GST. Review copy is a special limited edition, signed and numbered (of 200). If still available, Au$20 inc. post. Write first.
Tom Howard, as well as being one of Australia's best-known authors of many of the famous '
Film Index' volumes covering the golden years of the movies, is a writer of crime novels. This story begins with a murder on one of the famous Sydney 'toast-rack' trams back in the late 1930s. The story 'starts proper' a few years earlier as we are introduced to the various characters, mostly from the Sydney movie industry, around whom the plot will revolve. To quote the author, the book is not just a detective story, but "..a vibrant study of conflicts and attitudes." And "I want to show Australia as it was - I want my characters to be living, forceful representatives of their generation - I want to tell a story that is exciting and entertaining. How well I have succeeded is for you - not the moralists - to judge." For anyone who has spent part of their life in Sydney, the book will bring back the flavour of the past. It may be set in the 1930s but it still imparts the feeling of Sydney as it was in the 1950s and 1960s when I used to frequent the places in which part of the action takes place. In fact Sydney 1960 was little different to Sydney 1935. Drastic changes didn't take place until the mid-1960s. Gosford, north of Sydney, was still a small town although not quite so small as in the pre-WW2 years portrayed in the book. Movie fans will enjoy the action going on behind, and in front, of the cameras. It took me, a reader who normally doesn't enjoy crime novels, a while to submerge myself in the book. Before too long the story had me in its grip and I read the final third in one sitting. The most disappointing aspect was in coming to the final dozen pages and wishing there were another hundred or more to look forward to! Highly recommended to all readers.

by Beatrice Harraden. My copy Blackwood and Sons, Lon, 1921
Delightful story about two lonely people coming together in a Swiss sanatorium.
(John 2/2001)

Biographies and other non-fiction

by 'AH' - Alfred Hamish Reed. (Reed, 1966)
AH established the NZ publishing firm of Reed, still going strong. Among his many accomplishments, AH took up walking and one such 'amble' which commanded Oz and Kiwi-wide attention in 1965 was Sydney to Melbourne via the Olympic Way. This crosses the Blue Mountains before swinging south through Cowra and eventually to Wagga Wagga.

So what was the big deal? AH was in his 89th year; in fact, almost 90!

The author's way of doing things harks back to the early days when it wasn't uncommon to walk long distances before the advent of motorised road transport. AH had, after all, been born in 1975. The only preparations made in advance were for accommodation via community committees and service organisations, but even these were on a fairly casual basis.

AH set off from Sydney GPO on 1st September, 1965 in a pair of boots which had already carried him a thousand or more miles around New Zealand. It was his practice to note down the name anyone who spoke to him together with comments on events as they unfolded. These notes would eventually fill about 7 large notebooks and provide the basis for this book.

The author's larrikin-style of gentle humour kept me smiling to myself throughout the 200-plus pages. With his second stop at CB&M's 'home' - Penrith - (he'd reached Parramatta on the first day) it wasn't long before AH was 'attacking' the climb up into the Blue Mountains. His swag (containing all the necessities) was usually deposited at the nearest station and sent on ahead to the next stop, whereupon a volunteer would fetch it in readiness for that night.

"I left Penrith on Friday the 3rd, after sending my swag on to Springwood by rail, at a cost of 2s 6d".

I had to keep reminding myself of the author's age, as he made mention of only averaging 3 miles an hour, the average day taking him only 15 miles. Only!!! Throughout the book AH gives a running commentary on the sights and historical aspects thereof, such as the first crossing of the Blue Mountains. And there were the locals.

"Not a day passed during my long journey but numerous people took a friendly interest in my welfare. Every day cars would stop for a greeting; an orange or sweets would be put into my hand, or a cool drink or a cup of tea would be offered by some long-distance traveller."

More often than not strangers would offer AH accommodation and meals. He was a non-drinker so knocked back literally hundreds of offers of free ales, though he was perfectly happy to down a lemon squash in the local. Throughout the walk he talked to probably thousands of people and especially children. Many schools along the way, having seen and heard reports of his progress in the media, welcomed him in so that often he spent hours signing autographs and talking to up to 700 pupils at a time.

Of interest to collectors are his reports on visits to the rare book sections of libraries of Sydney, Melbourne and in New Zealand.
I found this book thoroughly engrossing and have no doubt in adding it to my desert island 'best 10'.
(John 15 October, 2003)

by Michael Moore, "sorry excuses for the state of the [US] nation". [Penguin, Australia, 2002 pb] ISBN 0 14 101190 4
I'm not generally a reader of best-sellers but having occasionally enjoyed 'The Awful Truth' on Sydney station SBS, decided to give this a go. First impression was: !!! The author gives you both barrels, sandwiched in between helpings of wit and satire. If you want to know who does what to who, and why, in American politics, this book will have you hanging onto every word, but you may not enjoy reading it! Assuming that all is factual, that if such wasn't the case he would be facing a swag of lawsuits, US citizens are well and truly under the thumb of big business, more so than the rest of us. That's just one facet; wait until you see the figures for dollars spent on US public libraries. Eighteen pages of sources and acknowledgments back up the contents, so that's good enough for me. Essential reading if you wonder what makes the US tick, if that's the right expression. Scarier than a Stephen King novel, one of which I'd finished prior to reading this book. Don't attempt to read at one sitting. One chapter a night was my limit. Both compelling and repelling. 'Essential reading for all humankind'. Love him or loath him, Michael Moore truly does make you sit up and think about how to make the world a better place. Highly recommended. (John 30 March, 2003.)

by Ralph Barker, is the story of the sinking during WW2 of the 'S.S. City of Cairo'. [Collins, London, 1984 hb]
At a location in the Atlantic 2000 miles from Brazil, 1000 miles from Africa and 500 miles north of St Helena, she was torpedoed by U-68 under the command of Cdr Karl-Freidrich Merten. This meticulous book reconstructs the sinking and subsequent harrowing story of the survival and deaths of those cast adrift in the lifeboats. They decide to head for St Helena but eventually one boat makes it to the northeastern-most tip of South America. One of the other boats is rescued by a German blockade runner which in turn is sunk by a British cruiser. So once again overboard, these 'Cairo' survivors find themselves aboard a U-boat!

More exciting than any work of fiction, this is a book guaranteed to keep you reading through the night. Discover which survivor's favourite author was Percy Westerman and the biggest mystery: As bodies were pushed overboard for the attention of the following shoals of sharks, why did the women float face up and the men face down?

As the author writes, despite examples of selfishness and depravity, some survivors displayed a "nobility and heroism which defies description". Highly recommended (John, 23 August, 2002.)

by Ken Hornsby, published by Robert Hale, London, and St Martin's Press, NY, 1978 ISBN(UK) 0 7091 6941 8
Recommended for all librarians, ex-librarians, book collectors and anyone who has every used a public library. The author spent two years in such a place, anticipating a relaxed and gentle atmosphere. How wrong he was! From early days of being taught the exact art of lining up a row of books on the shelf to dealing with wild animals let loose, you'll laugh yourself silly as he relates his day to day experiences in a light-hearted style. Great fun, 172 pages; I read it in an afternoon. (John)

I really enjoyed it too, being a Librarian the weird incidents had amazing parallels in my own career, now the rest of the staff at Penrith Library are reading it. I think it will have to be renewed several times from the library that loaned it to us on Inter Library Loan. (Barbara)

THE LIGHTER SIDE OF SCHOOL LIFE by Ian Hay, illustrated by L. Baumer. Foulis, London 1914
Remarkable, alarming, humorous, factual most likely look at school life with chapters on the head, housemaster, form-masters, boys, the pursuit of knowledge (!), school stories of the 19th and early 20th centuries, 'my People' (parents and relatives) ,and the father. This book is a classic and I wonder if a schoolgirl version was ever written. A 'must read' for anyone who spends their time reading early school fiction. It made me realise how little has changed in the past 90 years if this is indeed a true reflection of the times in which it was written. In addition you have the brilliant art of Baumer, one colour illo per chapter and worthy of framing. Copies of this book appear to be readily available for less than US$20 on the net. Highly recommended. (John, 23rd May, 2004)

LOVE POEMS by Dane Lucas Richards. Minerva Press, London 1998. ISBN 86106 690 2. Paperback 3 pounds 95
Forty poems celebrating beautiful women, done in the tradition of the poet's favourites - Byron, Keats, Shakespeare, Shelly and Pablo Neruda. Dane's is a unique talent in these times, expressing all the tender and touching moments of old-fashioned romance. Recommended. (John, 26 May, 1998)

NANCY WAKE by Russell Braddon. Various editions. First published in 1956.
Born in Australia, Nancy Wake moved to Paris in the late 1930s and married a wealthy Frenchman in Marseille. When the war arrived, she was one of the instigators of the escape route through to Spain and beyond by which a thousand or more fugitives escaped the clutches of the German war machine. She eventually escaped to London, trained as a saboteur and returned to organise the Maquis (French underground). Presented with French, British and American awards, Nancy returned to Australia, entered politics and almost unseated Doc Evatt in the 1951 federal election. This book sits on many shelves. I should know: a copy has occupied a space in line of sight for years so finally I picked it up and turned to the first page. Before long, I was entranced by the explosive adventures within. A case of truth being stranger - or more to the point, more exciting - than fiction. If you've not read your copy, pick it up and do so. You won't be disappointed. (John, 26 May, 1998)

O D Gallagher's RETREAT IN THE EAST George Harrap, 1942
From the jacket blurb: "The facts behind the disasters in Malaya and Burma: a tale of government incompetence and civilian self-interest: a story of the incomparable bravery of our soldiers, sailors and airmen...". I'm not a regular reader of war books but the mention on the jacket flap of the warship 'Repulse' provided an impetus to read on.

Gallagher was the war correspondent of London's 'Daily Express' in Malaya and Burma, having previously reported from Abyssinia, Spain, Palestine, China, Dover (during the Battle of Britain) and the Western Desert (with the Eighth Army). Unlike a number of similar books I've dipped into, this author writes well: simply, factually with no embellishments. Whether he's in the water after having abandoned ship or diving for cover as a squadron of Japanese aircraft strafe the airport, Gallagher gets on with the job. He is the type of person one would like to meet. Or was, as I'm sure he's long gone, even if he survived the war. Gallagher was on board the 'Repulse' when she and the 'Prince of Wales' were sunk by Japanese diver bombers. He was a good photographer as the photos taken at the time of the attack attest. His one great regret was being on the 'Repulse' rather than the 'Prince of Wales'. The latter's location was common knowledge, unlike that of the 'Repulse', her presence there being furtive if not secret. Gallagher's byline on the sinking had to read something like 'from eastern waters'. If he had been on the 'Prince of Wales', he could have quoted that in the byline and given his editor a much more dramatic headline. Galagher reveals much about the 'Flying Tigers', officially the AVG (American Volunteer Group), American pilots from the three services secretly recruited for Chiang Kai-Shek by William Pawley. 'Retreat in the east' was first published by Harrap in 1942.

SAILOR ON HORSEBACK by Irving Stone, and
by A Grove Day
The former was first published by Bodley Head, London, in 1938, the latter by Scholastic, USA, in 1971. 'Sailor on Horseback' was Jack London's intended title for his autobiography. Unfortunately, Jack died in November, 1916 and it was left to Irving Stone to write his story. Stone's book is absolutely crammed with details, just as Jack London's life was crammed with events. As a book, I found Stone's both riviting and irritating. It lacks both index and bibliography. Day's book, as the title indicates, concentrates on Jack's epic trip across the Pacific, does contain an idex and is aimed at the younger reader. I should have read Day's book before attempting that of Stone. The earlier author seems completely in awe of Jack and often makes excuses for his often outlandish behaviour. Jack London was a man of many parts. Day's book is a good lead-in to 'Sailor on Horseback'. You won't read about a more memorable author than Jack London.

SMITHY - The Kingsford-Smith Story by Ward McNally
This book was first published in the mid-1960s, the US edition by Barnes in 1967. I've owned an Australian edition for a while and the arrival of the US edition by way of a birthday present encouraged me to finally open it. As any Australian could tell you, and probably many Americans, 'Smithy' was the world's greatest aviator. His 'firsts' included the first Pacific flight in June, 1928; first non-stop flight across Australia in August, 1928 and first Tasman Sea crossing, September, 1928. He set the Australia-England record of just under 13 days in July, 1929. And that's just for starters. The author of this book contacted many of Smithy's contemporaries in search of anecdotes, and came up with some great material. You'll also read of the shameful way Smithy was treated by the governments of the day. A controversial character, there will never be another man like our Smithy. At less than 200 pages, this book is a highly readable introduction to the man and contains information not repeated elsewhere up until the date of publication. Recommended.

SOLO - The Burt Hinkler Story by R. D. Mackenzie
The remarkable story of the world's most reclusive, and arguably greatest male aviator. Bert Hinkler shunned publicity for most of his life and that fact probably led to his premature death in Italy. This book was published in 1962 by The Jacaranda Press and the author did an excellent job rounding up facts and anecdotes on Bundaberg's & Queensland's famous son. Bert had a burning desire to fly and in his tiny Avro Avian, G-EBOV, set a string of records including London-Rome-London in May 1920, Sydney-Bundaberg in April 1921, London-Riga in August 1927, England-Australia in February 1928 and New York-Natal-London in 1931. Lacking the savvy of Smithy and other fliers of the period, he spent much of his time experimenting and working for manufacturers, in order to raise capital. His heroic adventures and iron nerve as he battled wild winds (flying 2 metres above the Atlantic) proved that facts are often more exciting that the best-written fiction. A 'must read' for anyone interested in aviation. Highly recommended.

YOU NAME IT, IT'S BURNING by Ruth Ford, pub Hexagon Press rrp A$16.95
This novel is set in the Sydney bushfires of 1994. It's the story of a community and the discovery that there is more to life than lifestyle. Available from the CMS Bookstore, 93 Bathurst St, Sydney, NSW phone 02 9284 6700.

Children's Books

'RAGS', THE INVINCIBLE, by Anton Lind (Sampson Low)
Edward Raggett, of the Middle Fourth, Orreyford; burly, plumpish, hardly the type of character to star in a prewar school story. 'Rags' is one of those boys who will try anything once, and most probably, a second time, if he survives to tell the tale!
This is a short book of 90 pages and enjoyable enough. "Slight' is the expression in the annals of children's literature for such stories. Interesting characters and settings, not far removed from a series at Greyfriars which involved an American boy on the run from Chicago gangsters and kidnappers. Why did I pick this to read from among hundreds of similar books? The first page appealed, and that's a good enough reason, isn't it? (John 6/2004)

DOTTY, written and illustrated by John Light, 1996. Available from Photon Press, 29 Longfield Road, Tring, Herts. HP23 4DG, UK. ISBN 1 897968 26 4 One pound plus postage.
This 28 page A4 booklet is incredibly amusing, simple, brilliant! It's the story of a dot meeting a straight line. Unique in children's publications.The author publishes a number of books for children and if this is a representative sample, the all deserve to be picked up by a mainstream publisher. Highly recommended. (John 12/1997)

"Here you are, an honorary member of The Abbey Girls, and you haven't read an Abbey Book!" Shamefaced I crawled away, to find that a copy of 'Girls of the Hamlet Club' had mysteriously appeared in my carry bag. I had a mission: I would carry it out, or die in the attempt.

So here I sit with a copy of 'Girls of the Hamlet Club' beside me, well over half-read. And what do I think of the book? The following is for those family members of Abbey Girls who may not have read any of the books so beloved of their wives, daughters, sisters, mothers or girlfriends. EJO can write a good book. Yes, though I tackled my task in fear and trepidation, it wasn't too long before I was well and truly engrossed in the adventures of Cicely and the girls of Miss Macey's school in Wycombe. As a reader of many genres, my test of an interesting book is whether it firstly grabs my attention from the first page and secondly holds my attention past the first couple of dozen pages. This book easily passed both tests as I read non-stop for half an hour before a phone call interrupted the process.

Though 'Girls of the Hamlet Club' was written over eighty years ago, you'd never know it from EJO's timeless writing style. Short sentences do a good story make. None of the characters are cut and dried. Cicely may at first appear to be 'Miss Perfect' but she has her moments. To modern eyes she may appear to be a somewhat precocious 14-year old, but one has to realise that she was of the upper middle class and quite self-assured in many ways. She sets out to alter the 'them and us' attitudes of her fellow school pupils, 'them' being the 'Townies', girls from the bigger towns and properties; 'us' the 'Hamlets', girls from the many small country villages or hamlets. Most readers will find a character with which to identify. So, those who haven't - pick up a copy of 'Girls of the Hamlet Club' and enjoy a good read.

When fourteen-year-old Amber runs away from her loveless family, she is determined to find fame and fortune - but all she discovers is hunger and poverty.

Then Amber agrees to become a trainee sorceress with the Aradian Order, serving Aradia, Sister of the God, Mistress of Magic, in humble duty and love. At least, that's the theory. For Amber is a rebel and nothing in her life runs smoothly. And when she is sent back to her hometown to lift a frightening curse, things really get complicated.

"The change rolled over me like stream water, a transformation like thunder, effortless and powerful. At once I began to run. Another she-wolf loped easily alongside me, laughing as wolves laugh, her fur shimmering white in the forest gloom. I'd never seen her pictured in this form, but I knew her - Aradia, Sister of the God, Mistress of Magic."

ABOUT THE BOOK by Sue Isle March 1999
Books for a book: The research for ‘Tooth’:

Like most sf fans and writers, I read a lot. I also keep a record of everything I've read for the first time. If I did this for rereads, the list would certainly be a lot longer. As it is, it goes back 10 years and includes 770 titles. When I wrote ‘Tooth’ which is a fantasy grounded in Elizabethan England, meaning I adopted their house designs, population level, general way of life and clothing and added magic, an Inquisition and the obligatory dragon, I read a lot of nonfiction as preparation. Towards the end of 1995 I read ‘Shakespeare's Physic, Lore and Love’ by John Crawford Adams, who is a doctor. It contained not only a fascinating explanation of the state of medicine in Shakespeare's time, but also the beliefs surrounding diseases and their cures. Next was ‘Delightes for Ladies’, a book on housekeeping and recipes, written by Sir Hugh Plat in 1602, which included some invaluable information in the foreword about the education of girls.

In January of 1996 my book list included ‘A Visual History of Costume’ by Jane Ashelford, ‘The National Trust Book of the English House’ by Aslet and Powers, Dame Edith Sitwell's magnificent ‘The Queens and the Hive’ (Elizabeth I), ‘Arms and Armour of the Medieval Knight’ by Edge and Paddock and ‘English Costume in the Age of Elizabeth’ by Iris Brooke. I was tempted to do ‘Arms and Armour’ what is for me the supreme compliment to a library book, that is, I contemplated nicking it and being forced to avoid Perth Library forevermore. It helped me explain the difference between a tournament lance and a war lance to the publishers, who thought I had invented the term "coronel".

As well as all this reading, I had the invaluable insight provided by having been a member of the SCA for several years. Re-creation it may be, and it is certainly a cleaned up and romanticised vision of history, but you see the period costumes up close and personal, you hear people talk a lot about history and you learn things a book may not tell you, such as how much it hurts when a rattan sword hits you. It may be only a practice weapon and not steel, but it ‘hurts’.

For the magic, I built on information gained by way of modern Wicca. I hasten to add, I picked and chose and combined this information with pure invention. One book which was very useful to me was Robert Graves ‘The White Goddess’, mostly for its beautiful poetry.

The title of ‘Scale of Dragon, Tooth of Wolf’ is, of course, from the witches brew in Shakespeare's ‘MacBeth’, the words of the third witch:

"Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf Witches mummy, maw and gulf Of the ravined salt-sea shark Root of hemlock digged I' the dark."

I have now completed a second book about Amber and the sorceresses of Albion, which I'm trying to sell. This is ‘Dragons Fly South’ which has been written as a stand alone, though it is a continuation of Amber's fortunes in days when a queen, driven mad by dark magic, turns the Inquisition to destruction of the magical orders, rather than control. An Inquisitor seeks to force Amber to lead him to the Land of the Dragons halfway across the world and she also has a personal enemy, in the form of a sorcerer who thinks she may be useful.

THE SCHOOL IN SPACE by Reginald Brown (E S Brooks)
I really, really tried to read past the first 20 pages of this book but - you couldn't pay me enough money to read it to the bitter end. Outlandish SF/school story featuring an inventor / millionaire who has built a space vehicle the size of the QE 2 which has no visible means of propulsion. I'll insert a few quotes which give a general run of the characters and so on ...
"The chums of Study No.3 of the Fourth Form were strolling in the picturesque old quad at Whitelands. "
So far, so good. The chums are Dick Sylvester (cricket skipper and nephew of Uncle Bill, the inventor), Tim Charters and Will Osborne.
" ...the vessel which was now hovering over the school, its speed reduced to a mere crawl, was unlike anything they had ever heard of. It was all wrong. It should not have been hovering at all. A solid thing like that had no right to hover.
""This is all rot!" said Goodman violently."
And those four words from Goodman summarise the book brilliantly! No wonder ESB wrote this under a pseudonym.

Published by Heinemann, 1987. Set on Gurnsey before and during the German occupation, this children's book offers any reader an engrossing read from start to finish. The author's meticulous attention to historical accuracy shines through. You realise what the islanders must have gone without when one small girl is given an orange by one of the liberating soldiers.
She tried to bounce it on the flagstones.
"It's not a ball, silly, said Frank. "You eat it."
"But you peel it first," said Tessa quickly, as Shirley tried to sink her teeth in the fruit and looked frustrated.

Local History

BIRRONG INFANTS: A history of Birrong's early days and its final school (1950-1955) by Peter Hughes, 1995. Perfect bound, A5 format. Available through Air-Speed Books, PO Box 105N, Campbelltown North NSW 2560, Australia for $12.95. [Telephone (02) 4625 1381]
ISBN 0 646 31523 4.
Birrong is a quiet suburb approximately 20 ks west of Sydney, on the northern outskirts of Bankstown. The author draws a picture of post-war Birrong - the baby-boomer years - and takes you through the establishment of the school in 1950. He has left no stone unturned, interviewing students, parents and teachers of the era, and most fascinating, illustrating the book with class, personal and even aerial photographs. Various appendices list useful information at the end of the main text. This unpretentious local history of 116 pages is a great read and a trip down memory lane for those of us of the author's vintage! The class photographs are guaranteed to fascinate members of the younger generation. (John: 26 May, 1998)

DHARUG & DUNGAREE - The History of Penrith and St Marys to 1860
by Robert Murray and Kate White, 368pp HC, reduced price now only Au$20, Hargreen Publishing and PCL, 1988, ISBN 0 949905 40 2
To order copies of this book, please e-mail
Lorraine for details.
The title of this comprehensive local history may have readers from outside of Australia scratching their heads. The Dharug tribe were the original inhabitants of the area in question. To quote from the jacket, this lavish sewn and stitched hardback tells the story of "the life, love, laughter, tears and toil of the mainly ex-convict first generation" white settlers and the Dharug aborigines they rapidly replaced. The 368 pages include reproductions of early photographs, art and documents plus a very useful bibliography. Much of the book concentrates on Anthony and Elizabeth Rope, two First Fleet convicts. From English gaols to eventual settlement on the shores of the Nepean River at the base of the Blue Mountains; it is as the Mayor of Penrith states in the foreword: "A fascinating tale of endurance and survival in the face of extreme privation."

Movie and TV-related

by Herbert F Solow and Robert H Justman, Pocket Books 1996, ISBN 0 671 89628 8
The definitive history of the birth and continuing story of the original TV series. Probably the most authoritive book on Star Trek, this brilliantly assembled history will keep you reading page after page, chapter after chapter. Many rare photographs and artwork. Read this book before you pick up any of the actors' biographies. (John 2/2001)

THE OFFICIAL MICKEY MOUSE CLUB BOOK by Lorraine Santoli, Hyperion glueback, NY 1995 with a foreword by Annette Funicello. ISBN 0 7868 8042 2 232pp. US$9.95
An official Disney publication filled with many never before seen candid photos of the original Mouseketeers, recollections, anecdotes. A 'must-have' for those of us who grew up in the 1950s with television's most entertaining programme. When TV entered my home in early March, 1958, this was the show that first appeared. And I was hooked by the lovely Annette! A wonderful book. (John 30.6.98) A few copies available locally from Front Row Magazine on BOOKMART.

MORE 'B' MOVIES by Tom Howard
This is Film Index no.48 from John Reid, 198 pages perfect-bound with card covers. You'll find within this publication details and reviews of once thought forgotten movies from the end of the silent period through into the 1930s and later, into the 1950s. If you loved the old westerns of John Wayne, Ken Maynard and Hoot Gibson, you'll be hard-pressed to put this book down once you've glanced inside. Movies examined include 'The Bat', 'Beyond the Law', 'Death Kiss', 'Demons of the Swamp', 'East of Borneo', 'Guilty Hands', 'Hell Town', 'King Murder', 'Reefer Madness' and 'Monster Walks'.
Published by John Howard Reid, 26 Casey Drive, Wyong NSW 2259, Australia. See ad on MAILORDER page of BOOKMART, via link at end.

PICTURE PALACES AND FLEA PITS , by Simon Brand, 1983  ISBN 0 949825 03 4
A grand name for a book with the sub-title, 'Eighty Years of Australians at the Pictures'. Readers outside of Australia may not be aware that we locals always called the movies 'The Pictures'. We went to The Pictures, not the movies. I say 'went' as it's been many years since I watched a movie on the big screen. This particular book will take you back to those days when going to the pictures was an enjoyable Event. It will appeal especially to those of you who spent their childhood in the Melbourne area as the old Melbourne cinemas have been beautifully captured for all time by photographer Adrian Crothers. There are no colour photographs in this book but perhaps black and white captures the mood of the times with more dramatic impact. Sydneysiders are fortunate in still having the wonderful State Theatre. As well as the dramatic photographs, the author details the growth of the major players on the cinema circuits from whence Greater Union, Hoyts and Village sprang from. The chapter 'Jaffas, Fantales, Columbines' may have overseas readers scratching their heads but will bring many a smile to local moviegoers. (These were in fact trade-names of local 'sweets' or confectionery) This book has long been out of print but Australian surfers should be able to find copies in your local library. (John, 1997)

REID'S FILM INDEX: 35.Box Office(5), 36.Cinemascope(6), 37.Matinee Every Saturday, 38.Brisbane: 1001 Nights(2). Published by John Howard Reid, 26 Casey Drive, Wyong NSW 2259, Australia. AT ISSN 0015-1289-35 to 38. Each volume is perfect-bound, approximately 200pp, illustrated. See FILM INDEX.
The only independent publication of its type available, crammed with reminiscences, interviews, highly opinionated reviews, anecdotes, publicity material, illustrations and the famous ratings cartoons. Just a quick glance at the latter will tell you if the movie is worth a look. But issues of RFI are for picking up and reading whenever you feel like a trip to the movies of yesteryear. Visit the great picture palaces via these books, recall the lost years of a misspent youth. Ah, nostalgia, those golden days of leaving your cares behind at the box office. Highly recommended, each and every volume. [John: 5 August, 1998]

THE THREE STOOGES BOOK OF SCRIPTS Vol.2, by Joan and Norman Maurer. Citadel, NJ, USA, 1987, 255pp isbn 0 865 1018 8
This book features three complete scripts of the classic comedy trio's two-reeler shorts. As well, you'll find rare background material on the cast and production crew, the Stooges of the time, and much personal information, Joan Maurer being Moe Howard's daughter. There is a special chapter on the Stooges' fans. A warm, personal and intensely entertaining look at the cult movie team, quite unlike anything else I've read about Hollywood. It's been years since I saw one of their shorts, but I still remember a weekly visit to Sydney's Wynyard Newsreel Cinema back in the late 1950s with my father.

WHEN THE DIRECTOR WAS KING, Part 1, by Joseph Justin James
The title of Film Index no.47 and a departure from the usual format inside. There are the usual excellent treatments of films but beforehand a number of fascinating biographical articles on the following directors: Henry Hathaway, Robert Siodmak, Otto Preminger, Julien Duvivier and William Wyler. You'll read behind the scenes anecdotes never reproduced elsewhere. A guaranteed 'great read'. Published by John Howard Reid, 26 Casey Drive, Wyong NSW 2259, Australia. See ad on MAILORDER page of BOOKMART, via link at end.

Reference (all genres)

GOING GOING GONE: Vanishing Americana, by Susan Jonas & Marilyn Nissenson. Chronicle Books, CA 1994 ISBN 0 8118 0292 2 glueback US$18.95
Whatever happened to carbon paper, card catalogues, vinyl records, slide rules, rotary phones and sanitary belts?! These and dozens of other everyday necessities of the mid-20th century are discussed in fascinating detail in this glorious 176 page book with many stunning b/w photographs. You won't be able to put this book down once you've delved into the well-researched contents. One has to wonder if the authors will come up with a further sampling of 20th century ephemera in another volume. Highly recommended. (John 30.6.98) Some copies available as above.

At last, just what collectors of children's annuals have been waiting for; a concise yet comprehensive guide to British comic (and non-comic) annuals. From 'Adventure' to 'Zorro', you're almost certain to find your favourite annual listed! Estimated valuations are also given so you can now gain some idea of what that old box-full of annuals in the garage are worth. Also included is a general guide to the condition of books and comics, plus information on buying, selling and restoration. There is a special section on 'Rupert' plus 12 pages of stunning colour plates and a guestimate chapter on what may become collectable among the post-1970 annuals. This final chapter is sure is become a talking point among all who purchase this volume. The Guide is A5, 154pp, soft cover with square spine ISBN 0 9537875 0 8. Details of the purchase price may be found by either
emailing the publisher or going to the Hamer Books webpage.

THE STORY MAKERS II pub. OUP Melbourne,1990 ISBN 0 19 554965 1 glueback 66pp
A second collection of interviews with Australian and New Zealand authors and illustrators for young people, edited by Margaret Dunkle.
Interviews, one to a page with a photograph of the subject, provide an interesting insight into the early reading habits of recent popular children's authors. Find out who read 'Abbey', 'Dimsie', 'William' and Enid Blyton books. You may be surprised!

TV TIE-INS: A Bibliography of American TV Tie-in Paperbacks
by Kurt Peer (US price is $24.95) 1997, 371pp, glueback, Neptune Publishing Co, Ariz USA
(Review copy from THE AUSTRALIAN BOOK COLLECTOR, PO Box 2, Uralla NSW 2358, Australia.)

This monumental book, 20 years in the making according to the author, is something which will be welcomed by all sf fans and collectors of paperback tie-ins. Unfortunately, it only deals with those issued by US publishers whereas we Australian collectors often saw only English editions. This is a minor criticism, though. The book is crammed full of useful information and includes the following chapters:

# The Master List which lists all books by TV series title and includes original airing dates of the series. The details on each book include author's byline (if a pseudonym, real name is given in brackets. Many famous authors have earned pin money writing tie-ins. To quote Thom Racina from the introduction: "I'd write a 'Baretta' or a 'Quincy' in a weekend when I needed some cash."), publisher, book number (if the first tie-in proved popular, further titles would follow and would usually be numbered, meaning there would never be a 'number 1'.), copyright date, printing, issue date, cover price and actors featured on either the front or back covers.
# The Author List which lists all books in byline/author name order.
# The Publisher List
# The Actors Pictured List.
# The Episodes Novelised List
# The Selected Index List. This notes references to books, actors, series, etc., not included in any of the above lists.

As you can see the author seems to have covered all bases. Around 1400 titles are detailed in this bibliography. Although not mentioned initially, the guide also includes a complete listing of the well known and widely collected Whitman Publishing hardback TV tie-ins. The introduction gives concise background details as to how TV tie-ins came to be. The question of scarcity is also raised fleetingly but you won't find a price guide. It would take a brave writer to compile such a guide.

As the author states, the golden age of the TV tie-in has passed. Why buy a paperback when you can buy a video tape for (usually) less money? I first began collecting tie-ins a decade ago when they were all the rage among those of us brought up on a diet of easily digestible US TV westerns and Annette Funicello. 'The Man from U.N.C.L.E.' series of 16 paperbacks was eagerly collected. The book under review tells me for the first time that Ace published 23 titles in the US. Second in popularity were the 8 'Starsky and Hutch' paperbacks. Numbers 7 and 8 were always scarce and are thus still sought after. Only one 'Lost in Space' paperback tie-in was published and is probably the most prized of all TV tie-ins. Star Trek fans should note that this book does not give a complete listing. To do so would require a separate book. Also, 1990 is the cut-off point, so don't expect to find 'X-Files", 'Babylon 5' or 'Quantum Leap' titles listed. To gain an idea of prices, you should check out Pandora Books' on-line catalogue at http://www.pandora.ca/pandora. They appear to be the biggest US dealer in TV tie-ins.

TV TIE-INS is a 'must have' for anyone with fond recollections of the sixties and seventies.

by Frank Barrett, published by Reed Books under the Hamlyn imprint. Trade paperback, 201 pages. UK price 6 pounds 99, ISBN 0 600 59345 2. Australian release date to be advised. Reed Books (in London) may be contacted on 0171 581 9393 or by fax 0171 225 9424.

This 'Traveller's Guide to the settings of classic children's books' proved to be a revelation for this reviewer. Each chapter deals with a popular classic: how the book is viewed today, the story itself, the author and finally a tour around the area, buildings, setting, used in the story. A map accompanies each chapter, together with useful tourist information. Twenty two books are covered, namely 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', 'Watership Down, 'Thomas the Tank Engine', 'Peter Pan', Lorna Doone', 'The Secret Garden', 'Danny, the Champion of the World', 'The Tales of Beatrix Potter', 'Carrie's War', 'The Wind in the Willows', 'Tom Brown's Schooldays', 'The Sheep-Pig' (upon which the movie BABE was based), 'The Railway Children', 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe', 'Rob Roy', 'Winnie-the-Pooh', 'A Christmas Carol', 'Cider with Rosie', 'The Hundred and One Dalmatians', 'Swallows and Amazons', 'Anne of Green Gables' and 'The Little Prince'. The potted biographies on the authors are worth the price of the book and contain many interesting tit-bits. The details on how books were brought to the screen proved extremely entertaining.
Each chapter provides the stating point for a fascinating holiday. Adult readers should follow the author's recommendation: take your children on selected tours accompanied by the appropriate book! Children will find WHERE WAS WONDERLAND? good reading as it is written in a clear, amusing style. Here is a guide to children's classic stories which should be on all readers' shelves and in every school and public library. Highly recommended.* ****[John Nov.97]

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