Post Script: Paul McCartney The Biography: Philip Norman

Paul McCartney The Biography

Paul McCartney/The Biography

Philip Norman

Hachette Australia

Orion Books

ISBN: 9780297870760



The definitive Paul McCartney biography, written with his approval by bestselling biographer Philip Norman. Since the age of twenty-one, Paul McCartney has lived one of the ultimate rock-n-roll lives played out on the most public of stages. Now, Paul’s story is told by rock music’s foremost biographer, with McCartney’s consent and access to family members and close friends who have never spoken on the record before. PAUL McCARTNEY reveals the complex character behind the façade and sheds new light on his childhood–blighted by his mother’s death but redeemed by the father who introduced him to music. This is the first definitive account of Paul’s often troubled partnership with John Lennon, his personal trauma after the Beatles’ breakup, and his subsequent struggle to get back to the top with Wings–which nearly got him murdered in Africa and brought him nine days in a Tokyo jail. Readers will learn about his marriage to Linda, including their much-criticized musical collaboration, and a moving account of her death. Packed with new information and critical insights, PAUL MCCARTNEY will be the definitive biography of a musical legend.



My View:

I am and always will be a Beatles fan – their music is timeless, ergo I am a fan of the individual members of the group and as a fan this book did not disappoint. I really knew nothing much about the band or Paul McCartney apart from the music and the headlines – until I read this mammoth book – all 800+ pages reveals more than just the headlines.


This is a more than just music, more than the Beatles, more than a love story, more than a story of cancer, dying and grief,  more than a shocking divorce story…. this is an epic life story, an adventure that is not yet over.


My favourite images ( I wish there was more of them in this biography)  p.312 titled “ Rampant Beatlemania, held in check by the tolerant British bobbies of yesteryear” and p.503 “The Apple rooftop concert, January 1969,”  classics that tell the story of a bygone era.



Highlights From Day 2 of The Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival

Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival

Day 2 and more talented authors get my attention. The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the session named “Writing From Home”.  Natasha Lester is an author to inspire – confident, articulate, engaging and I am predicting that “A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald” will be an award winner.

Natasha Lester

If you get an opportunity to hear Natasha Lester speak at a book launch/festival or the like – do! It is a pleasure to listen to Natasha read from her novel – a wonderful presenter!  Again Rosemary Sayer was the perfect facilitator.


What more could you want? A free session! Today’s free session (yes there are usually free session on the lunch tome breaks) featured Dr Liz Byrski  and Rachel Robertson discussing the book they edited – Purple Prose – a collection of fifteen works of non fiction by Australian women writers.

In Love and War

So may great sessions today, so many great authors/editors/presenters/facilitators … Andrew Daddo, Jane Monk, Mark Dapin, Kirsty McKenzie, Loretta Hill, Gretel Killeen and last but not least  Bernice Barry.


Bernice Barry’s session – “Flowers at Home” put the spotlight on Berncie’s new release “Georgiana Molloy -The Mind That Shines.”  An exquisitely produced book (the cover art is award winning) and meticulously researched, this is another book to add to your TBR.


Georgiana Molloy: the Mind that Shines’


There was something for everyone again today!

Spotlight On Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival – Bernice Barry

Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival

Please welcome acclaimed local author Bernice Barry to my blog and the festival.

Bernice Barry

Originally from the Atlantic coast of England’s far southwest, Bernice moved to Margaret River in 2001 and has spent the last fourteen years creating a native garden in the bush. In 2011, she closed the door on a career in international curriculum innovation, as an adviser on the teaching of literacy, to focus on her lifelong interest in writing, literature and history.

In 2012, her short story ‘Mornings Like This’ won the first regional writers’ award in the Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival short story competition. In March 2015, after eleven years of research, her biography of botanist and local settler Georgiana Molloy was self-published in Western Australia. In March 2016 the book was published by Pan Macmillan in Australia and New Zealand under the Picador imprint: ‘Georgiana Molloy: the Mind that Shines’.

Georgiana Molloy: the Mind that Shines’


Bernice will be participating in a session on SAT 4 June 5.20pm; Flowers at Home.


I recently caught up with Bernice and she discussed the meaning of Home: Where We Feel We Belong


“Some people can put a favourite book and a family photo on the bedside table and suddenly a motel room feels like home. Others need to live and grow and put down emotional roots in a place for years before the connections feel strong enough to use a word that’s so deeply associated with our sense of self. The details may be different for each of us but we all share some overlapping understandings of the concept of ‘home’.


When I first arrived in the southwest, nearly fifteen years ago, it was a strong feeling of having finally arrived home that made me want to stay and never leave. I’ve never felt so connected to any place before and I believe it was this same bond that captured Georgiana Molloy’s heart, mind and spirit when she arrived in 1830.  She wrote about it far better than I do, her letters and diaries sharing in glorious words her love of the land, river, ocean, plants and trees around her. I hear from so many readers who recognise, in my book about Georgiana’s life, their own very personal bond with their West Australian home.  I think, for all of us, it’s simple. Home is the place where we feel we belong.”





Post Script: Love Your Sister – Connie and Samuel Johnson

Love Your Sister

Love Your Sister

Connie &Samuel Johnson

Hachette Australia


Unabridged audio book 10 hrs 45 mins

ISBN: 9781510008496




How far would you go for someone you love…on a unicycle?


Brothers and sisters often dare each other to do things – it’s what siblings do. However, when Connie Johnson dared her brother, Samuel, to embark on a one-wheeled odyssey around Australia, she knew it was a big ask. But Connie knew exactly what she was doing and was sure he wouldn’t say no. Not this time.


Born a year apart, Connie and Samuel Johnson have always been close. Sam was by Connie’s side when she found out she had cancer at age 12 and again when she was diagnosed at age 22. Then, at 33, Connie was diagnosed with breast cancer, but this time she was told she would not recover. As a young mum faced with her own death, Connie wanted to find some meaning in the chaos. And so she dared Sam to help her.


Officially there were three aims: promote breast cancer awareness, raise more than $1 million for research – and break the world record for the longest distance travelled on a unicycle. However, Connie had a secret fourth aim: to fix Sam. She had no idea if any of it would work out. Neither did he.


Part memoir, part travel diary, part conversation, Love Your Sister is Connie and Sam’s inspiring, moving and unforgettable journey, told in their own distinctive voices. It’s a story of love, family, cancer – and the generosity of ordinary Australians.


About the authors: Samuel and Connie Johnson are the powerhouse brother-and-sister team who established the Love Your Sister charity. Samuel is an Australian actor with 20 years’ experience, best known for his work on The Secret Life of Us, Crackerjack, Underbelly II and Rush. In recent times he is more proud of his work as a breast cancer advocate and determined unicyclist.


Connie Johnson is a wife and mother of two beautiful young boys. She has worked in the disability sector for ten years and since her most recent diagnosis spends her time with her family and advocating for breast cancer issues…when she’s not busy seeing how much torture her brother will endure before he says no.


Warning: This audiobook contains some moderate coarse language.


©2014 Connie Johnson and Samuel Johnson (P)2015 Hachette Australia Pty Ltd



My View:

Poignant, inspirational, honest…this has it all.


Remarkable lives; remarkable courage, honesty, strength and love. This is a wonderful story of family, love and inspiration. Multiple tragedies inspire unselfish goals and such wonderful acts of individual heroism.

This family deserves….a long life together and to see their goal of financing the science that will help find a cure for breast cancer come to fruition. Unfortunately that long life together is most definitely not going to happen but that has not stopped this family from their journey to raise the funds to help this dream come true. Over two million dollars thus far and counting… Along the way Connie and Sam make memories that their families, friends and colleagues will never forget.


A poignant and very personal honest story that will leave you in awe of the strength of this family bond. I wish you all the very best as you continue to make the most out of every day.




Meaningful Connections

It is St Valentine’s Day  – a day for sharing, showing and expressing your love for and connecting with the people you love.

If you have an opportunity to some “me” time let me suggest a few titles for your reading pleasure – all share a similar them – connecting with others (reviews to come in the near future).


The Lovers

The Lovers

Rod Norland

Hachette Australia

Hodder Books

ISBN: 97814736007002


She is his Juliet and he is her Romeo, her family has vowed to kill them both.

A riveting, real-life equivalent of The Kite Runner—an astonishingly powerful and profoundly moving story of a young couple willing to risk everything for love that puts a human face on the ongoing debate about women’s rights in the Muslim world.

Zakia and Ali were from different tribes, but they grew up on neighboring farms in the hinterlands of Afghanistan. By the time they were young teenagers, Zakia, strikingly beautiful and fiercely opinionated, and Ali, shy and tender, had fallen in love. Defying their families, sectarian differences, cultural conventions, and Afghan civil and Islamic law, they ran away together only to live under constant threat from Zakia’s large and vengeful family, who have vowed to kill her to restore the family’s honor. They are still in hiding.

Summer Harvest

Summer Harvest

Georgina Penney

Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780143797081


English dog trainer Beth Poole is having trouble getting her life back together after beating a life-threatening illness and divorcing her husband. When her Aussie-soap-obsessed grandma sends her to Australia to recover, it seems a great opportunity for some rest and relaxation while she figures out what’s next…

Our Song

Our Song

Dani Atkins

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781471153297


The stunning new emotional drama from ebook phenomenon Dani Atkins, author of Fractured – perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Dorothy Koomson.

This is the story of Ally and Charlotte, whose paths have intersected over the years though they’ve never really been close friends. Charlotte married Ally’s ex and first true love, David. Fate is about to bring them together one last, dramatic time and change their lives forever.

Entry Island

Entry Island

Peter May


ISBN: 9781782062202


When Detective Sime Mackenzie boards a light aircraft at Montreal’s St. Hubert airfield, he does so without looking back. For Sime, the 850-mile journey ahead represents an opportunity to escape the bitter blend of loneliness and regret that has come to characterise his life in the city.

Travelling as part of an eight-officer investigation team, Sime’s destination lies in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Only two kilometres wide and three long, Entry Island is home to a population of around 130 inhabitants – the wealthiest of which has just been discovered murdered in his home.

The investigation itself appears little more than a formality. The evidence points to a crime of passion: the victim’s wife the vengeful culprit. But for Sime the investigation is turned on its head when he comes face to face with the prime suspect, and is convinced that he knows her – even though they have never met.

Haunted by this certainty his insomnia becomes punctuated by dreams of a distant past on a Scottish island 3,000 miles away. Dreams in which the widow plays a leading role. Sime’s conviction becomes an obsession. And in spite of mounting evidence of her guilt he finds himself convinced of her innocence, leading to a conflict between the professonal duty he must fulfil, and the personal destiny that awaits him.







Post Script: Tragedy The Sad Ballad of The Gibb Brothers – Jeff Apter



The Sad Ballad of the Gibb Brothers

Jeff Apter

Echo Publishing

ISBN: 9781760060183



The rise and fall of the brothers Gibb is perhaps the greatest saga in Australian, even world, music history. As ubiquitous as the falsetto harmonies, flares and multi-platinum record sales were the tragedies: the highs, the lows, the highs again. And then the brothers fell, one by one.


Not long before his death, Robin made it clear that he believed the Gibbs had been forced to pay the highest possible cost for their success. ‘All the tragedies my family has suffered . . . is a kind of karmic price we are paying for all the fame and fortune we’ve had.’


This is the story of all four brothers’ incredible careers, lives and influence. It captures the incredible highs, and the terrible lows: divorce, drunkenness and death.


It is a beautifully drawn examination of the Gibb ‘curse’ and an all-too-human look at the rollercoaster ride of fame.



My View:


What an incredible story! Did I even realise when I was in primary school and we were singing “Words” with Mr Dickinson, music teacher and piano player that we were singing a Bee Gees hit? No. I had little knowledge of the Bee Gees early days. I am amazed to discover how young these musicians were when they first sampled success; they were barely our out their teens. Astonishing really.


When I was a teenager and listening to the sounds of the Saturday Night Fever (yes I admit to it I did have the album) I still wasn’t really away of the Gibb’s early days or their more narrative (ballad style) earlier music – like New York Mining Disaster, I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You, Lonely Days Lonely Nights…these I “discovered” later and they still remain firm favourites today. In fact I have been playing these songs not stop – in my head and on my mp3 player all the time I was reading this biography. What a talent – I don’t think I have reflected on the body of work these guys produced before – it is amazing – thank you Jeff Apter for alerting me to this.


And what terribly tragic story the Bee Gees life was. More than a few times I had tears in my eyes. It is even sadder to think that Robin Gibb believed the family deserved to pay such a high price for their success and fame. I don’t believe he was right – they were just unfortunate and maybe a little too young and inexperienced when fame initially found them. Barry Gibb I wish you joy and peace and hope that you are still sharing your talent by writing and producing music for others.


A moving, memorable and well researched story.


Goodreads Reading Challenge 2015

completed challenge


Congrats! You have read 200 books of a goal of 200!

Now that wasn’t so hard was it? It is the reviewing 200 books that is the hard work.


Post Script: Dancing With Myself – Billy Idol

Dancing With Myself

Dancing With Myself

Billy Idol

Simon & Schuster UK

A CBS Company

ISBN: 9780857205599




“I am hopelessly divided between the dark and the good, the rebel and the saint, the sex maniac and the monk, the poet and the priest, the demagogue and the populist. Pen to paper I’ve put it all down, every bit from the heart. I’m going out on a limb so watch my back.”


An early architect of punk rock’s sound, style and fury, whose lip-curling sneer and fist pumping persona vaulted him into pop’s mainstream as one of MTV’s first mega stars, Billy Idol remains, to this day, a true rock ’n’ roll icon.


Now In his long awaited autobiography, Dancing With Myself, Idol delivers an electric searingly honest account of his journey to fame – from his early days as front man of the pioneering UK punk band Generation X to the decadent life atop the dance-rock kingdom he ruled –delivered with the same in-your-face attitude and fire his fans have embraced for decades. Beyond adding his uniquely qualified perspective to the story of the evolution of rock, Idol is a brash, lively chronicler of his own career,


A survivor’s tale at its heart, this sometimes chilling and always riveting account of one man’s creative drive joining forces with unbridled human desire is unmistakenly literary in its character and brave in its sheer willingness to tell. With it Billy Idol is destined to emerge and one of the great writers among his musical peers.



My View:

An insightful read of the evolution of punk/rock/mainstream music. I am amazed Billy Idol I still alive.


I am a fan of Billy Idol – as I I read this revealing autobiography I have been singing those catchy dance tunes in my head (and maybe out loud) those fist pumping, pogoing, frenetic mega hits of the early 80’s to 90’s. If you listened to the radio or watched MTV or the many “music video” programmes on TV at the time ( the 80’s/90’s) you will recognise his music ; songs like White Wedding, Dancing With Myself, Mony Mony, Rebel Yell…the hits continued as Billy Idol became an overnight success. With success came fame, fortune and access to unlimited drugs, sex and his behaviour became even more outrageous and rebellious; Billy Idol unblushingly tells all.


I was transfixed. I was enthralled. I was amazed that the rock legend, Billy Idol, is still living and breathing and writing songs and performing despite or because of a life of excess and substance abuse and addictions all kinds. And he writes openly about it. His recounting of the history of the punk movement was illuminating. I enjoyed reading his story though could perhaps have managed with a few less details of his rabid sexploits. This is rock ‘n’ roll! No limits, raw.





Post Script: The Silver Moon Reflections on Life, Death and Writing – Bryce Courtenay

This book is simply delightful, inspiring and a joy to read.


The Silver Moon Reflections on Life, Death and Writing

Bryce Courtenay


Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780670078264




Each of us has a place to return to in our minds, a place of clarity and peace, a place to think, to create, to dream. For Bryce Courtenay this place was a waterhole in Africa where he used to escape to as a boy, in search of solitude. One evening, while lingering there, he witnessed the tallest of the great beasts drinking from the waterhole in the moonlight, and was spellbound. Ever since, he drew inspiration from this moment.


The Silver Moon gathers together some of the most personal and sustaining life-lessons from Australia’s favourite storyteller. In short stories and insights, many written in his final months, Bryce reflects on living and dying, and how through determination, respect for others and taking pleasure in small moments of joy, he lived life to the fullest.


From practical advice on how to write a bestseller to general inspiration on how to realise your dreams, The Silver Moon celebrates Bryce Courtenay’s lifelong passion for storytelling, language and the creative process, and brings us closer to the man behind the bestsellers.



My View:


I have read a few of Bryce Courtenay’s novels over the years – he has written many, in fact 21 books over 23 year which is a pretty amazing record and for me my favourites have been The Power Of One and April Fool’s Day – books that I feel Courtenay had really invested himself in the narrative, but that was until now. After reading The Silver Moon I have fallen in love with this author all over again.


I love his gentle words, his poetic writing, and his inspiring reflections. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet this author before his death in 2012. I wish I’d had the opportunity to hear him speak- his words speak to the soul and we can all learn a lot from this simple unassuming book. Bryce Courtenay is in his own words “…a character driven novelist and I’m fascinated by the human persona and the travails and troubles and angst and adventures that we human beings manage to create for ourselves…I’m driven to tell stories. Stories absolutely fascinate me, and while writing is a hard process, I can’t conceive of not doing it. It is a compulsive and impulsive thing.” (p. 90, The Mercury, Dec 1997).







Post Script – Damned if I Do – Philip Nitschke with Peter Corris

Damned If I Do

Philip Nitschke with Peter Corris

Melbourne University Publishing


ISBN: 9780522861419



This is the revealing, personal story of the man behind the controversial pro-euthanasia movement, told in his own words. Medical doctor, humanist, author and founder/director of Exit International, Philip Nitschke’s life has always been in the spotlight.
The book spans Philip’s early days, from his curious, activist student days in Adelaide, to working with Aboriginal land rights groups in Australia’s Far North; to his successful campaign to have euthanasia legalised in Australia and his assistance in four people ending their lives before the law was overturned.
It covers the controversy surrounding Philip’s work, including the banning in Australia of his international bestselling book The Peaceful Pill, and disturbing reports that many young people overdosed on Nembutal, the drug that Exit International recommends for suicide.
Ultimately, Philip believes that the right to one’s own death is as fundamental as the right to control one’s own life: ‘It seems we demand humans to live with indignity, pain and anguish whereas we are kinder to our pets when their suffering becomes too much.’

My View:

For me this book is part biography and part history of Nitschke’s involvement with the Voluntary Euthanasia movement in Australia and beyond. I really enjoyed the personal no holds barred stories of the larrikin adventurer Philip Nitschke  – his life as student, his time as a gardener come activist  at Wave Hill cattle station,  as a Park Ranger, student again, tram conductor, doctor, sailor and pro euthanasia advocate are intriguing and fascinating reads. This man takes responsibility for his actions and the direction of his life (although at times he doesn’t appear to quite know what his destination is, his journeys are always interesting, full of pranks, liaisons, experiments, curiosity  and questioning.) I really enjoyed this part of the book.

Nitschke’s involvement with the Exit and the Voluntary Euthanasia debate seems to have shaped/become his personal and business life.  The frustrations, the politics, the court actions and the controversy surrounding his day to day actions are listed in great detail.  It seems this man has become his life’s work – the quintessential advocate for the Voluntary Euthanasia movement.  I know who I’d want on my side if I ever was in the position of needing assistance to end my life.

A very interesting read.