People

The good stuff on a great man

July 28, 2016
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The good stuff on a great man

Olivier, by Philip Ziegler (Maclehose Press, RRP $40) My impression of Sir Laurence Olivier is a sort of vague one of him playing Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, or declaiming Shakespeare effortlessly. Either that or I associate him with Vivien Leigh, to whom he was married for several years. Beyond that, I have a vague...

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Dawkins opens up on fascinating life

March 22, 2016
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Dawkins opens up on fascinating life

An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist, by Richard Dawkins (Bantam Press, RRP $40): I’m no science geek, in fact I happily admit to still being quite impressed by the magical ability of my fridge to spit out ice at the touch of a button, so you know a science dude is...

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Fairy-tale life that turned sad

January 17, 2016
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Fairy-tale life that turned sad

Empty Mansions, by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Jr (Atlantic Books, RRP $40): It’s human nature that we have a fascination with the lives of the rich and famous, but sometimes the lives of the incredibly wealthy are also incredibly sad. Reclusive heiress Huguette Clark died in 2011 at the age of 104....

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Laver a tennis great

January 12, 2016
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Laver a tennis great

Rod Laver: A Memoir, by Larry Writer with Rod Laver (Pan Macmillan Australia) Who would dare question tennis icon Roger Federer’s assessment of the greatest players of the sport in his time? Federer’s plumping for Laver as “the greatest champion our sport has known” will be widely accepted wherever the game is played. Federer, after...

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Inspiration top of ill teacher’s list

January 7, 2016
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Inspiration top of ill teacher’s list

The Priority List, by David Menasche (Allen & Unwin, RRP $35): The word “inspirational” is often bandied about when it comes to biographies of the famous and wealthy, but this story of a teacher who simply wanted to carry on doing what he loved best is one of the few times “inspirational” is the...

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There’s so much to like about Billy

December 17, 2015
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There’s so much to like about Billy

Still Foolin ‘Em, by Billy Crystal (Macmillan, RRP $40): Billy Crystal is one of those actors that everyone knows of. His career is wide-ranging and various, and it feels like he’s done a little bit of everything. Still Foolin ‘Em is part autobiography, part reflecting on ageing, and it’s all pulled together by Crystal’s...

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Compelling case for the defence

August 24, 2015
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Compelling case for the defence

Who Killed Scott Guy? The case that gripped a nation, by Mike White (Allen & Unwin, RRP $37) It’s an interesting title because while journalist Mike White doesn’t offer any facts or opinions about who did kill Scott Guy, he presents an abundance of evidence about who didn’t. White investigated the 2010 murder of Feilding...

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Imagination fills gaps in story of James Cook

June 20, 2015
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Imagination fills gaps in story of James Cook

The Secret Life of James Cook, by Graeme Lay (HarperCollins, RRP $37) The premise for The Secret Life of James Cook sounds a bit naff. A fictionalised account of the famous navigator’s early life up to his first circumnavigation, based on letters to his patient wife . . . who actually destroyed the letters...

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Astronaut’s exploits are out of this world

June 14, 2015
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Astronaut’s exploits are out of this world

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield (Macmillan, RRP $37): Chris Hadfield is without doubt the world’s most well- known astronaut since the hey-day of the Moon landings and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. He is the dude who made us all smile last year with his music video of David...

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Behind the speech synthesiser, a wit

May 20, 2015
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Behind the speech synthesiser, a wit

My Brief History, by Stephen Hawking (Bantam Press, RRP $35): There’s a lot more to uber-genius Stephen Hawking than a big brain and a debilitating illness, and this memoir offers a glimpse into what makes the man tick. This is the first book Professor Hawking has written entirely on his own since the groundbreaking...

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