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Monday, April 12, 2021

Book talk: Coffee table books for Christmas

Jeff Popple reviews three stunning coffee table books for Christmas. More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog: murdermayhemandlongdogs.com

To My Country by Ben Lawson

Allen & Unwin, $29.99

This gorgeous book will make for a great Christmas present. In the midst of the bushfires earlier this year, Australian actor Ben Lawson, who was stuck overseas, was distressed by the devastation he was witnessing on the news. In response, he wrote To My Country, and when he uploaded a video of himself reading the poem, it went viral. The poem has now been captured in this book and is a moving ode to Australia and a reflection on climate change. The sentiments of the poem are enhanced by some lovely illustrations by Bruce Whatley and proceeds from the book will be generously donated to the Koala Hospital. Recommended.

Extraordinary Old Dogs by Laura Greaves

Michael Joseph, $32.99

Also very moving is Laura Greaves’ tribute to old dogs. Too often, old dogs are left at shelters or disposed of when they are seen as being a burden or no longer cute. But no matter how old they are, dogs improve human wellbeing and boost our mental health. They often also contribute to society. In Extraordinary Old Dogs, Laura tells the story of 15 elderly dogs who are doing useful things all around the world, from Brook, who ‘saved the day’, to Haole, who helped change the lives of young children with disability, to Maya the koala detection dog. An uplifting book with great photos.

Confidence in the Kitchen by Emmylou MacCarthy

book cover

Plum, $39.99

Just in time for the Christmas festivities is TV producer and self-confidence advocate Emmylou MacCarthy’s guide to fun cooking, fashion tips and clever “life hacks”. From ‘kids friendly’ meals, to feeding a crowd with flair, to how to tie a turban head scarf, Emmylou covers all the basics. The recipes are well set out and easy to follow and cover a rich array of styles. Most are also accompanied by useful tips and interesting stories about how Emmylou discovered them. All the recipes look very tempting, especially a great one for apple and berry crumble, and Confidence in the Kitchen is the perfect guide to summer entertaining.

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