The Water Underneath, by Kate Lyons

When a young woman and her baby go missing, gossip abounds in the small mining town where she lives. Twenty years later, the local lake yields human bones. The woman’s daughter, Ruth, returns to the town of her birth, ostensibly to see her dying Uncle Frank. He has carried secrets through those two decades which have rendered him a shadow of the man he once was.

The Water Underneath, by Kate Lyons, is a superb piece of literature. Its style, coupled with its water and journeying motifs, lend it satisfactory tones of Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing. The gripping mystery of the disappearance and the family’s history is seen through the eyes of three women of different generations who, while not close, share the common bond of their love for Frank, the man at the head of the family.

The Water Underneath, Lyons’ first novel, was a deserving runner-up in the 1999 The Australian/Vogel Literary Award. It paints a vivid picture of the town and countryside in which it is set – both the physical surrounds and the social backdrop to the tale – at the same time exploring some of the issues which have divided Australian society.

This is a story which will grip you with its mystery and its believability from start to finish.

The Water Underneath, by Kate Lyons
Published by Allen & Unwin, 2001

A Fisherman's Tale

Fishing in tidepools is fun, but watch out – if you take a little fish home for a pet, you may get more than you bargained for.

A Fisherman’s Tale, by Keith Faulkner and Jonathon Lambert, is a delightful lift the flap book which kids will love and parents enjoy reading.

The story is a little reminiscent of another old favourite, Seuss’s The Boy Who Fed His Fish Too Much, but this does not detract from the book. Kids love lifting and unfolding flaps and pages as they see the fish grow bigger and bigger and bigger, and the final flap with its satisfying ending.

A Fisherman’s Tale, published by Australian publisher, Koala Books is suitable for one to six year olds.

A Fisherman’s Tale, by Keith Faulkner and Jonathan Lambert
Published by Koala Books, Sydney, 1994

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.

Just Crazy

Hey kids, do you bounce so high on your bed that you hit your head on the ceiling? Do you look in the mirror and see a crazy maniac staring at you? Do you like reading stories about cute animals getting pulverised by machines? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you will love Just Crazy!, by Andy Griffiths. Even if you answered no, chances are you’ll still enjoy this book.

These nine crazy stories will have you shaking your head, screwing up your nose, groaning out loud, but, most of all, laughing out loud. Journey with Andy as he figures out how (not) to remove a bandaid from his face with a vacuum cleaner, how to get his homework back out of his dog when he’s just eaten it, how to get out of a wheelie bin and many more valuable life skills.

These hilarious stories come with FREE – yes, completely free – page numbers and cool cartoon illustrations from well known Australian illustrator Terry Denton.

Parents, don’t worry, this book will not harm your kids, because they are of course way too sensible to copy the things that Andy does. Aren’t they? This really is an excellent read for kids aged 9 to 14 years, and would be a good offering for a reluctant reader.

Just Crazy!, by Andy Griffiths
Published by Pan Books, 2000

ISBN 9780330362153

This book can e purchased in good bookstores or online from Fishpond.

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

 

Man Bites Dog, by Adam Ford

When Steven crosses the imaginary line between university and the real world, he decides he’d better get a job. He winds up as a postie, which he figures is just as good as anything else. When he’s not delivering mail, he drinks with his mates, goes to see his new friend Wayne presenting performance poetry and draws comic strips for his friend Gina’s zine. Together he and Gina go undercover to get rid of bad punctuation and to locate the guy who puts cool red stckers all over the city.

Complications enter Steven’s life in two forms – a doberman he calls Satan and a girl called Emma. Satan torments him as he tries to complete his mail deliveries, until he dies suddenly and mysteriously. Emma torments him other ways. She is Stevene’s first older woman and also the first girl he’s had to chase.

It also seems Emma’s getting in the way of Steven’s friendship with Gina. Will he have to choose between friendship and sex?

Man Bites Dog is a comic and quirky urban detective novel about life, love and responsibility. It seems especially likely to appeal to young twenty somethings living in Melbourne, who may well recognise themselves in some of the vast range of characters.

Quirky.

Man Bites Dog, by Adam Ford
Allen & Unwin, 2003