Firefighters, by Gary McKay

At 32 minutes past midnight on Friday morning, 23 June, 2000, the Childers Auxiliary fire brigade received a 000 call that ‘the backpackers at 72 Churchill Street was on fire.’ The first truck pulled up in front of the hostel five minutes after the fire call was sent. It was a dramatic scene, fleeing occupants were streaming out of the burning building, and the Childers crew were facing a big fire with limited resources.

The dramatic Childers fire was one of more than 50 000 calls for assistance made to the Queensland Fire and rescue Authority every year.

In Firefighters, Gary McKay delves deep into the important work of the men and women who attend these fires. He explores what it takes to become a fire fighter and what it takes to stay one.

With chapters on recruit training, fire fighting, rescue, auxiliary fire fighters, rural and urban firefighters and more, the book gives a rounded view of the highs and lows of the lives of the firies.

One chapter of the book is devoted to the tragic Childers story and its aftermath, demonstrating just how difficult the firefighters’ job can be, and the courage and dedication demonstrated by the members of the Queensland Fire and rescue Service.

On a lighter note, another chapter recounts some of the humorous anecdotes shared with Gary McKay by the firies.

Whilst researching the book, McKay attended the 12 week fire fighting training course and served in many fire stations to gain an understanding of the different techniques utilised by firefighters, as well as interviewing over 75 firefighters of all ranks and experience. McKay is the author of several bestselling books, including In Good Company: One Man’s War in Vietnam.

Firefighters, by Gary McKay.
Allen and Unwin, 2001. rrp AU $29.95

Writing From Start to Finish

Writing should be an easy process – pick up a pen, come up with something to write about – and write. Unfortunately, it isn’t always that easy. If you find yourself regularly staring at a blank page wondering just what it is you should be writing, then Writing From Start to Finish is for you.

Award winning write Kate Grenville shares her method for dealing with writing tasks – the Six-Step Method. Through the use of exercises, examples and explanations, she guides readers through the application of the six steps for both imaginative writing assignments and essay assignments.

The book would make an excellent text for high school or university English and writing classes but would also be an excellent personal resource for any writer’s home library.

Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s best known writers, having published six novels, and winning the Orange Prize for Fiction for The Idea of Perfection. Her other book for writers, the Writing Book, is an outstanding resource for both novice and professional writers.

Writing From Start to Finish, by Kate Grenville
Allen & Unwin, 2001

Boys' Stuff

Being a boy is not always easy. Understanding boys can also be difficult – for parents, for teachers and for girls. In Boys’ Stuff, Wayne Martino and Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli explore some of the complex aspects of boys’ lives – sex, drugs, expectations, relationships, family, school and more.

Rather than telling us about boys’ experiences, the book shows them, with quotes contributed by boys from around Australia. With the ages of contributors ranging from pre-teen to adult, and with widely differing backgrounds, a vast range of attitudes and experiences are explored on subjects ranging from physical appearances, to succeeding at school, drugs and smoking and emotions.

As well as first person commentary, contributions include outstanding poetry, short stories, photographs and drawings. Whilst editorial commentary is kept to a minimum, readers are asked to stop and consider their own stance at appropriate junctures with questions for discussion and/or reflection.

Boys’ Stuff provides excellent class study material for both boys and girls but is also an excellent source of insight for parents and educators of teenage boys.

Boys’ Stuff, by Wayne Martino and Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli (eds)
Allen and Unwin, 2001

Opportunities From Home

If you are just starting out, establishing a business can appear a complex affair – you must decide exactly what kind of business you are hoping to set up, learn how to cope with the financial and administrative processes, establish the kinds of permits you will need and so on. Ian Birt’s book, Opportunities From Home: Establishing Your Home Business, aims to help those wishing to work from home to navigate these difficulties.

From understanding what a home business is, to choosing what sort of business is right for you, to time management, motivation and administration, this book serves as a practical guide and a wonderful tool in the planning and setting up of a home based business. Birt speaks from experience, having run his own home-based business for over twenty years.

As well as providing information, Opportunities From Home doubles as a work book, with each chapter concluding with Self-development exercises and Case Studies, aimed at making the reader apply what they have learnt, both to their own situation and to those they may not have yet encountered.

No matter what kind of home business you are considering, this book will prove relevant, and if you have not yet decided what sort of business will be best, there is helpful advice for choosing the business that is right for you.

Before embarking on the exciting voyage of home employment, take the time to read what an expert has to say.

Opportunities From Home: Establishing Your Home Business , by Ian Birt
Prentice Hall: 1998.

Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps

Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps is a book which will have you alternately laughing, crying and nodding your head in agreement. It should be read by everyone in a relationship, or who has ever been in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex.

Allan and Barbara Pease have worked together to produce a book which explores the differences between men and women and the reasons for these differences. Their explanations are based on detailed scientific research, but are presented in an entertaining and informative way. Cartoons, diagrams and one liners punctuate the text, illustrating key points with wit and simplicity.

Because it is written by a couple the findings are balanced – there are as many jibes at men as at women. Despite the humour and simplicity, the book is amazingly accurate and informative.

The Peases explore physiological and psychological differences, illustrating with examples and case studies. Differences in sensory capability, communication, sexual drive, academic ability and more are all explored, with the intention of helping us understand why these differences occur. There are also practical suggestions how men and women can cope with these differences.

Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps is an outstanding balance of information and entertainment, making it appealing to all adult readers.

Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps, by Allan and Barbara Pease

Pease Training International, 1999