The Australian Guide to the Internet, by Tony Stevenson

If you are reading this review, then you probably already have basic internet skills – you have, after all, connected to the ‘net, opened a browser and typed in the URL, http://www.aussiereviews.com (or, alternately, clicked on a link from an email or other website). Having these skills, however, does not mean that The Australian Guide to the Internet is not for you. This book is packed full of useful information for internet users of all abilities and experience levels.

Expert Tony Stevenson provides a concise explanation of the many facets of the internet in easy to follow language, suitable for even the least tech-savvy reader. The first part of the book is geared towards the novice internet user, providing a basic history of the internet, and going to explain how to connect to, and use, the net, including finding an ISP and setting up . Part Two continues in this vein, introducing novices to using a browser, communicating via email, and using newsgroups and mailing lists.

With the essentials covered, parts three and four of the book delve a little deeper into the wonders of the web, dealing with effective searching, downloading files and software, and using the net for entertainment. For those wary of using the internet for shopping, there is a whole chapter devoted to the hows and whys of online shopping, including security issues.

The final two parts of the book deal with creating a web presence, through starting your own web site, and avoiding net nasties such as viruses. For parents the chapter about protecting your kids online will be invaluable.

Throughout the book, Stevenson’s clear explanations are aided by screen shots, simple exercises and web references to get more out of the internet experience. The book is a must for all Australian internet users and would make a great gift idea for a computer novice.

The Australian Guide to the Internet
, by Tony Stevenson
Prentice Hall, 2000

The Australian Writer's Marketplace 2002

As if the writing process wasn’t difficult enough, once you have produced your brilliant novel, your outstanding script or your insightful article, you then need to find someone to publish it. For Australian writers, this process is made a little easier by The Australian Writer’s Marketplace. The 2002 edition is now available and, as always, is full of useful information for both aspiring and established writers.

Compiled by author, journalist and writing teacher Rhonda Whitton, the book’s subtitle is The Complete Guide to Being Published in Australia. As well as listing thousands of markets, the book contains useful advice from published writers on both the writing process and getting published. There are essays about writing for the web (Christine Davey), characterisation (Sydney Smith) , manuscript presentation (Rhonda Whitton) and more, including the winning entry in the 2002 Writer’s Marketplace Essay Competition.

Market information includes an extensive listing of magazine and journals, newspapers, script markets and publishers, with contact details, submission information, payment rates, editorial tips and so on. Web site addresses are given for those publishers who have a web presence. Of course, the publishing world is ever changing, so writers are always advised to check details before sending submissions

Other information given includes listings of agents and manuscript appraisal services, literary organisations, writing contests, literary courses and events.

The Marketplace is an excellent resource for the aspiring writer who, although possibly not ready to submit, can explore the many different markets to aim for, as well as making contact with useful organisations and perhaps trying their hand at some of the many literary contests available. For the more experienced writer, the book is a useful source for checking contact details of intended markets as well as finding new ones to explore.

The 2002 edition of The Australian Writer’s Marketplace is available direct from the publisher or from all good bookshops, for (AUD)$42.95.

The Australian Writer’s Marketplace, Compiled and Edited by Rhonda Whitton
Bookman, 2001.

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