Reviews

 

The Exhilarating Leap Forward

The Exhilarating Leap Forward

Ruby Hamad
Reviewed: Lizzie O’Shea, Future Histories: What Ada Lovelace, Tom Paine, and the Paris Commune Can Teach Us about Digital Technology, Verso Books. There is a viral video that made the rounds a few years back in which Pharrell Williams sits beside a visibly nervous young music student. The legendary producer and performer had paid a surprise visit to NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music to provide feedback on students’ producing assignments. Almost as soon ...
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Truths and Arrows of YA

Truths and Arrows of YA

Adele Walsh
Reviewed: Raina Telgemeier, Guts, Scholastic; Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X, Hardie Grant; Vikki Wakefield, This Is How We Change the Ending, Text Publishing. As with all categories of literature, Young Adult (YA) is a melting pot of genres, formats and inspirations that reflect the experience of teens. It’s a distinctly Western concept due to the proliferation of a few series that made the leap from page to screen, and then to the zeitgeist. There’s a ...
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Guilt Mountain

Guilt Mountain

Jinghua Qian
Reviewed: Mirandi Riwoe, Stone Sky Gold Mountain, UQP. Australian nationalism often promotes a history in which the colonisation of Aboriginal lands was somehow complete before the white patriot turned his attentions outwards to the threat of the non-white foreigner. It’s a deliberate trick. Certainly, the histories I was taught in school advanced this chronology: first the British arrived and took over this country, and then they wanted to keep everyone else out. Gradually, in the ...
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Exquisite Troubling Depths

Exquisite Troubling Depths

Harry Saddler
Reviewed: Rebecca Giggs, Fathoms: The World in the Whale, Scribe Publications. This April, news outlets reported that researchers had observed a drop in underwater noise pollution since the start of the year. The Guardian quoted statistics stating that over the period of the study, from 1 January to 1 April, imports and exports at the port of Vancouver near the study site were down by 20 per cent. Cornell University’s Michelle Fournet said that ‘we ...
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Taking Female Queerness From Subtext to Text

Taking Female Queerness From Subtext to Text

Matilda Dixon-Smith
Reviewed: Laura McPhee-Browne, Cherry Beach (Text Publishing) Faith and I smiled at each other and started to move away from the crowd, down Queen Street towards the east. I took her hand, small and shy, and held it. It felt good to be out with her, and to show anyone who wanted to look what we were to each other. —Laura McPhee-Browne, Cherry Beach In a Readings blog review of Inga Simpson’s Where the Trees Were, ...
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Looking up and Falling Down

Looking up and Falling Down

Laura La Rosa
Reviewed: Angela Williams, Snakes and Ladders, Affirm Press Power is inflicted and fortified at every social rim, forcing an exhausting battle on those on the back foot. Some will get out. Others will get by. The fight will feel futile at times, with small triumphs along the way. Most will continue to rise each day, thrust among the systemic tide, putting one foot in front of the other. Angela Williams’ memoir Snakes and Ladders is ...
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The Class of Culture

The Class of Culture

Ben Eltham
Reviewed: Orian Brook, Dave O’Brien and Mark Taylor, Culture Is Bad for You: Inequality in the cultural and creative industries, Manchester University Press Brian Brook, Dave O’Brien and Mark Taylor’s new book certainly has an arresting title. Culture Is Bad for You, it proclaims. For a certain type of person—perhaps the sort of person who reads Meanjin—the statement will be provocative, even enraging. For years the idea of ‘culture’—as well as its sexier synonyms such ...
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Technophilia and its Discontents

Technophilia and its Discontents

Cher Tan
Reviewed: Anna Wiener, Uncanny Valley, MCD Books The ‘self-made boy genius’ is a pervasive image in the tech world. It’s a familiar trajectory, made admirable by its sheer exceptionality: young, brilliant yet maladjusted man floats around in society unsure of his motivations, drops out of university and teaches himself how to code, then stumbles upon a cool new business idea that becomes a game-changer. Venture capital flows in hot and heavy; there’s a strong conviction that ...
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