Book talk: elephants, catastrophes and the #MeToo movement

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The Last Elephants by Don Pinnock and Colin Bell

Hardie Grant, $50

This delightful book is a photographic record of the last wild elephants in Africa. In 2016, the Great Elephant Census found that there are fewer than 450,000 elephants in Africa and that they are declining at an alarming rate. This book is a backup to the census and provides disturbing evidence of the decline. Through the eyes of over 40 experts, including researchers and park rangers, it tells the stories of the continent’s elephants and the dangers they face. The photographs were selected from the world’s best wildlife photographers and are simply stunning. There is also a passionate foreword by Prince William. Highly recommended.

The Full Catastrophe by Rebecca Huntley and Sarah Macdonald

Hardie Grant, $32.99

If you are feeling depressed about life and the state of Australia, this book could be the perfect cure. Rebecca Huntley and Sarah Macdonald have collected 32 stories from well-known Australians about those times when life is so bad, it is funny. From tales about disastrous trips to career stuff-ups to travelling through airport security with a roast chicken in your hand luggage, these stories will have you laughing out loud. There are many good reminiscences from the likes of Annabel Crabb, Wendy Harmer and Bernard Salt, but the weirdest and funniest stories come from Kirstie Clements’ reflections on her time as the editor of Vogue.

#MeToo by Natalie Kon-yu, Christie Nieman, et al.

Picador, $32.99

This fascinating book reflects on the rise of the #MeToo movement. In October 2017, #MeToo went viral following the claims against Harvey Weinstein and other celebrities, and quickly spread to Australia. In this collection, 35 contributors share their stories and analysis of the movement in the Australian context. They tell of personal experiences and reflect on local controversies, including the Geoffrey Rush case, and the rise of counter movements such as #NotAllMen. You may not agree with all the viewpoints in the book, but it is an important first look at one of the most significant movements of recent years.

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