Book talk: Great Father’s Day reads


Jeff Popple reviews five great books for Dad this Father’s Day! More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog:

Dad Hacks by Rob Palmer

Macmillan, $29.99

This is a marvellous book for dads that is full of good ideas to save families time and money. Palmer, a former builder and Better Homes and Gardens regular, provides 101 tips for dads, from across the spectrum of house maintenance, life skills, cooking and family games. The best tips are the DIY ones, and include how to patch up with plaster, the tricks to building a good cubby house and the essential dad toolkit. He even gives advice on how to perfectly roast pork! A terrific little book, with lots of good illustrations.

Knife book text cover

Knife by Jo Nesbo

Harvill, $32.99

Those who enjoy gritty crime novels will appreciate the latest book in Norwegian author Jo Nesbo’s bestselling series about Oslo detective Harry Hole, Knife. The book opens with Hole still recovering from the traumatic conclusion to the previous book, The Thirst, and in a bad way. His world suddenly becomes much darker, however, when someone near to him is murdered. Although warned off the murder investigation by his superiors, and assigned other cases to keep him busy, in typical fashion Hole launches his own inquiries into the murder, with initially disastrous results. This is probably the toughest entry in Nesbo’s hard-hitting series and is an exciting and very tense read.

Castaway by Robert Macklin

Hachette, $32.99

Canberra writer and former journalist Robert Macklin provides a fascinating historical account of the life of Narcisse Pelletier, a French cabin boy who was abandoned on the Far North Queensland coast in 1858. Rescued by the local Uutaalnganu (Night Island) people, he lived with them for 17 years until he was torn from his beloved Aboriginal family and returned to France. Set against the backdrop of the spread of European settlement into northern Queensland, and the brutal frontier wars that it provoked, this is a well-researched and very interesting account of a young man caught between two cultures.

The Second Sleep by Robert Harris

Hutchinson, $32.99

Robert Harris’ The Second Sleep will surprise dads expecting a routine historical thriller. It opens in 1468 with a young priest, Christopher Fairfax, riding to a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of the old local priest who has died suddenly. Fairfax only plans on being there for a day or so, but becomes caught up in the dead priest’s fascination with old artefacts and begins to suspect that it is this interest that led to his death. After the first three chapters, the book takes a most unexpected turn that will shock most readers and keep them avidly turning the pages all the way to the surprising conclusion.


The Writing On The Wall by Juliet Rieden

Macmillan, $32.99

Finally, Australian journalist Juliet Rieden provides a poignant account of her father’s life. In 1939, as Hitler’s troops were marching on Prague, Juliet’s father, then eight years old, was smuggled out of Czechoslovakia to England. His parents stayed behind and were eventually sent to a concentration camp. Juliet grew up in England and was largely unaware of the tragic background of her father and his family. After his death in 2006, she started to research her father’s family history and uncovered a sad tale of cruelty, courage and kindness that also helped her better understand her father and what he went through. A fascinating and heartfelt journey of discovery.

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