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Book Club Spring 2014: Aussie Connections

[hr] In this issue of The Retiree we bring you latest releases from some of Australia’s most inspiring people. These include real-life stories and practical health advice and all are available at most leading book stores. [hr]

An Imperial Affair: Portrait of an Australian Marriage – John Richard

AN-IMPERIAL-AFFAIRAward winning author John Rickard has published widely on Australian cultural history and biography and his latest book An Imperial Affair is a personal quest to understand his own family dynamics, relationships and history. It takes us into the marriage of his parents Philip and Pearl, a couple who lived during a time when private lives were properly private but divorce was a scandal. It shines a light on the family values and sexual dynamics of this period, conditioned as they were by the imperial relationship and cultural dependence on ‘the mother country’, which inevitably helped shape hopes, fears and desires.

An Imperial Affair was written when John came across his father’s wartime letters to his mother and includes references from diaries and documents and genealogical sources. It is part biography, part autobiography and part social history.

Monash University Publishing, rrp $24.95 

Natural Remedies: An A – Z of Cures for Health and Wellbeing – Mim Bein

NATURAL-REMEDIESRenowned Australian naturopath Mim Beim has recently released her new book, Natural Remedies: An A-Z of cures for health and wellbeing which is presented as a comprehensive, practical and easy-to-use reference to assist with over 200 common ailments, including the common cold, burns, arthritis, premenstrual tension, infertility and menopause. There are also strategies for losing weight, boosting the immune system, increasing energy levels and dealing with stress. Each condition is listed alphabetically and clearly identifies symptoms, causes and the suggested natural cures. Best of all, many of these natural remedies are found in the family home and in our backyards.

Mim has been practising as a naturopath for more than 25 years and firmly believes that treatment should be enjoyable, not torturous. Mim is the author of eight books and is a lecturer at the Australasian College of Natural Therapies.

Rockpool Publishing, rrp $29.99 

Through their Eyes: Glimpses of a Changing Australia – Lucy Taylor

THROUGH-THEIR-EYESWhen undertaking the project of capturing the stories of her remarkable mother, author Lucy Taylor soon realized her was one of countless stories to be told by Australians who have lived long lives in historically significant times and localities. And so, she embarked on a two year adventure travelling the breadth of Australia’s rural towns to track down local legends who are proud to share their life’s journeys, advice and memories in her recently released book Through their Eyes: Glimpses of a Changing Australia. 

From the colourful tales of Jeinz Jakel, a crocodile hunter and farmer in the great Top End of the Northern Territory, to Des French, a fisherman from Stanley in Tasmania who spent his youth living on the rugged and remote Hunter Island in Bass Strait, through to Eva Collins who lives at Cherbourg, on the banks of Barambah Creek, 280km north west of Brisbane, and Win Johnson, a sprightly 90 year-old who now calls South Australia’s Clare Valley home, these are the stories of people who are all share a different tale, but possess a remarkable resilience enabling them to survive times of great change.

24 storytellers are published in all, and Lucy has a charming way of recollecting their tales. As well as putting the words together, Lucy has taken all photographs and published the book through her own company, Brigalow Press. Books can be purchased for $24.99/book plus $5.00 for postage anywhere in Australia. They can be ordered through the website: and 10 per cent of the recommended retail price is donated to Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation.

 Brigalow Press, rrp $24.99 

Living Legends: True Tales of Extraordinary Old Timers – Sandy Thorne

LIVING-LEGENDS‘You are about to meet some wonderful people…people who all have a great story to tell. So make a big pot of tea or pitcher of daiquiris, settle back and enjoy reading the life stories of these lively, lovely people.’ 

In a similar vein to Lucy Taylor’s Through their Eyes, Sandy Thorne’s Living Legends details 14 remarkable Australians (and one Kiwi) , all trades with a wealth of experiences from the good old days to modern times. In Living Legends we meet Danny, the champion jockey who refuses to ever truly hang up the saddle; Dusty, the WWII rear gunner who survived thirty raids over Germany; and Dot, the seemingly dainty 97-year-old who was once a bullocky’s offsider. There’s Bob, who’s been a truckie, fighter, croc-wrestler and lotto winner; Doris, the once hard-toiling dairy farmer; and Roy, the Vietnam vet turned world-class water-skier.

Between these fourteen individuals, they have survived the Depression, seen World Wars come and go and witnessed monumental changes in everyday life. There’s comedy and courage in their adventures, as well as moving tales of triumph over adversity. Sandy herself is a former jillaroo, horse breaker and bull-catcher, a bush poet and Australia’s favourite yarn spinner. She has also authored Bonzer and Old- Timers: Magnificent Stories from Mighty Australians. 

Penguin, rrp $29.99 

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Alana Lowes

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