Nonfiction November Week 5: New to my TBR


Well we have come to the end of another Nonfiction November! It was, as always, a wonderful event, and my TBR has swelled yet again.

thank you to the hosts, Rennie @ Whats NonFiction?, Katie @ Doing Dewey, Veronica @ The Thousand Book Project, Christopher @ Plucked from the Stacks, and Jaymi @ The OC Book Girl

The book covers below link to the blogger from whom the recommendation came. Thank you to everyone who participated.




I only managed to read 6 nonfiction books during the month. Click the covers to read my reviews.


If you have resolved to read more nonfiction in 2022, consider joining the 2022 Nonfiction Reader Challenge





Review: Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia by Anita Heiss (Ed.)


Title: Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia

Author: Anita Heiss (Ed)

Published: 16th April 2021, Black Inc

Status: Read November 2021



My Thoughts:


There is no single or simple way to define what it means to grow up Aboriginal in Australia….”

I’m having such a hard time putting together a response to reading Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia. I have such a mix of emotions – I am angered, ashamed, sad, enlightened, inspired and hopeful.

Fifty contributors share their diverse experiences of growing up Aboriginal in Australia. They come from all over country, and are of varied ages, genders, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic class.

Yet there are commonalities in their stories -the weight of intergenerational trauma, the burden of stereotypes and racism, the struggle with identity, the desire to understand and embrace their culture, kin and country.

Though the quality of the writing can be uneven, the honesty of the authors stories are affecting and powerful. They are a generous invitation to learn and gain some understanding of what it is like to be a First Nations person growing up in Australia, both then and now.

“….it’s so obvious that underneath the invisible barriers and expectations we have constructed and placed on each other, we are all brothers and sisters; we are all just pink flesh and bone.”

An informative, thought-provoking, and moving anthology Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia is essential reading in the journey to create a new dialogue with and about Aboriginal Australians.


Available from Black Inc

Or from your preferred retailer

via Booko I Book Depository I Booktopia I Amazon

Review: This is Your Captain Speaking by Doug Morris


Title: This is Your Captain Speaking: Stories from the Flight Deck

Author: Doug Morris

Published: 19th October 2021, ECW Press

Status: Read November 2021 courtesy ECW Press


My Thoughts:


Doug Morris draws on his twenty years experience as an airline pilot for a large Canadian airline to address the mysteries of commercial flight In This is Your Captain Speaking: Stories from the Flight Deck.

Written in a personable tone Morris attempts to answer every question you might have about the career of a pilot and the operation of a commercial aircraft -including what they carry in their flight bag, how routes are planned, fuel tolerances, and the universal usefulness of duct tape; as well as queries about the notorious mile-high club, difficult passengers and shrinking seat sizes. As a certified meteorologist Morris also confidently address concerns related to weather such as turbulence, icing and the phenomenon of St Elmo’s Fire. The author’s explanations are concise and detailed but appropriate for a lay audience, with a glossary provided for further edification. Morris also includes good humoured asides and anecdotes throughout the book which are generally entertaining and offsets the technical minutiae.

While not the gossipy industry exposé I was hoping for, This is Your Captain Speaking did prove to be educational. I believe it would particularly be a good choice of reading for a nervous flyer, a young aspiring pilot, or someone with specific interest in commercial aircraft operations.


Available from ECW Press

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Amazon

Nonfiction November Week 3: Be the Expert

Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert). 

My youngest daughter has just finished her first year of University where she is completing a Bachelor of Science majoring in Forensic Science. Forensic science is the application of scientific principles and techniques to matters of criminal justice. It draws upon a variety of scientific disciplines, including biology, physics and chemistry, and primarily involves the recognition, identification, individualisation, and evaluation of physical evidence to be used in a court of law. The field of forensic science is broad but can be sorted into four main disciplines. Field sciences which involves crime scene investigation; and laboratory sciences which includes the analysis of evidence such as DNA, toxicology, and documents; are the basis for my daughter’s degree. Forensic medicine which involves pathology (autopsy), psychology, entomology, and anthropology; and digital forensics, involving the extraction, preservation and analysis of digital data; are generally post graduate specialisations. Forensic specialists may also come from fields such as engineering, botany and meteorology.

Forensic science is a subject I’ve always found intriguing, as does the general population as evidenced by long running tv shows like CSI and it’s various permutations, Bones, Silent Witness and NCIS, as well as best selling fiction from authors such as Kathy Reichs, Jefferson Bass, Patricia Cornwall, Val McDermid, and Jeffrey Deaver. Of course forensic science is not as glamorous, nor as simple as it’s portrayed for entertainment. It’s an ever evolving discipline that requires scientific rigour and integrity. it’s not infallible, as recent controversies show, but it can be an extraordinarily vital element in the accurate prosecution of crime.

I have read a reasonable amount of nonfiction that focuses on, or involves, the fields of forensic science. True crime books almost always refers to the work of forensic scientists in an investigation, but I’m going to share five books where various disciplines of forensic science are highlighted.


Though first published in 2004, Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales byWilliam M. Bass & Jon Jefferson is still in print. It tells the fascinating story of the ‘Body Farm’ founded by U.S. forensic anthropologist, Bill Bass, renowned for his research on human osteology and human decomposition.


In Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime, Val McDermid explores a wide range of forensic disciplines in the UK, including fire scene investigation, entomology, pathology, toxicology, fingerprinting, blood spatter, DNA, anthropology, facial reconstruction, digital forensics, and forensic psychology, providing both historical and modern day context.


My recommendation for Autopsy: Life In The Trenches With A Forensic Pathologist In Africa by Ryan Blumenthal comes with a small caveat. While this is a fascinating read because the practice of pathology in Africa is somewhat unique to the location, the author is fond of interjecting moral judgments.


In Killer Instinct: Having A Mind for Murder, Australian forensic psychiatrist, Donald Grant presents ten murder cases in which he was involved, providing details of the crime/s, and his medico-legal assessment of the alleged perpetrators state of mind based on case evidence and interviews. It’s an interesting read because the role of a forensic psychiatrist is quite specific and very different to the therapeutic relationship.


Dame Sue Black is a British forensic anthropologist and the author of Written in Bone: Hidden Stories in What We Leave Behind. Organised in sections that move down the skeleton from the head through to the foot, in each chapter Black explains the development and function of specific bones, how those bones may, or may not, be affected by natural or unnatural means, the process a forensic anthropologist uses to examine and then provide a scientific assessment of the bones, and case examples that demonstrate the role of forensic anthropology in the investigation of legal and criminal cases.


There are dozens more books on the subject on my TBR, but do you have one you’d particularly recommend?

Review: Women to the Front by Heather Sheard & Ruth Lee


Title: Women to the Front: Australian Women Doctors of the First World War

Author: Heather Sheard & Ruth Lee

Published: 2nd April 2021, Ebury Press

Status: Read November 2021



My Thoughts:


After the Great War broke out in 1914, Melbourne doctor Helen Sexton was just one of what was to be at least 28 Australian female medical practitioners, aged between 27 and 56 years olds trained primarily in general medicine but also in specialties from pathology to anaesthesiology to surgery, who attempted to enlist as a doctor with the Medical Armed Forces in Australia or Britain. Their offers rebuffed, the Australian women, eager to aid in the war effort, instead reached out to international medical organisations and soon found roles that allowed them to serve in several settings, including within mobile medical units stationed along both the Eastern and Western fronts.

In Women to the Front, authors Heather Sheard and Ruth Lee, draw on available official documents, personal letters, diaries and other material to ensure that these intrepid Australian women doctors are acknowledged, and lauded for their contributions to the war effort. The book is organised in five parts, with a narrative divided by year and then location, detailing the women’s movements across the Allied fronts. There are a lot of names, acronyms and dates which can be difficult to keep track of, but helpfully the authors also include a glossary, individual biographies of each doctor, and a comprehensive index.

Though Sheard and Lee state they had limited information to work from, they have put together compelling accounts of the women’s experiences as wartime doctors. The Australian doctors served in at least twelve countries, working under a wide range of conditions in a variety of roles from 1914 to 1918. Doctors Laura Forster (NSW), and Ethel Baker (QLD), joined the BHF (British Field Hospital for Belgium) which established a 150-bed field hospital in Antwerp in September of 1914. The facility was quickly flooded with wounded soldiers, the women often required to operate through the night. Barely a month later they were forced to evacuate as the German Army advanced. Pathologist Dr Elsie Dalyell (NSW), the first Australian woman to win a Beit Fellowship, offered her skills to the War Office, but when refused joined Lady Cornelia Wimborne’s Serbian Relief Fund field hospital, and headed to Serbian Macedonia on the Eastern Front where she was responsible for the collection and analyse of specimens to detect and diagnose everything from wound infections, to diseases such as Typhus. Dr Agnes Bennett (NSW) volunteered with the French Red Cross and treated the wounded soldiers from the battlefields of Gallipoli who were shipped to Cairo. Sydney (NSW) doctor Marjory Little took charge of the 46th Stationary Hospital’s laboratory. The 46th, in Étaples, France, was an isolation hospital in the largest army base camp ever established overseas by the British, and contained one of the army’s most important laboratories.

It’s humbling to think of the strength, courage and will these Australian women doctors, and the others noted in this book, possessed. At a time when women had so little agency, and were barely tolerated in the medical profession, they fearlessly entered the theatre of war and proved themselves more than capable. Infuriatingly they were afforded very little official respect from the Australian or British military, either during or after the war. Though sometimes awarded a nominal rank they were denied full military pay rates and benefits. A handful of the women were awarded minor British medals, none received recognition from Australia. Other countries were more generous, Dr Lilian Cooper (QLD), for example, was awarded the Serbian Order of St Sava, the Russian Cross of St George, and the French Red Cross Medal for her services. Astonishingly, when World War II began, the Australian military again refused the enlistment of Australian women doctors despite their outstanding record of service.

Inspiring and informative, Women to the Front is an important book acknowledging the invaluable contributions made by the extraordinary Australian women who selflessly served the Allied Forces as doctors during World War I.


Available from Penguin Books Australia or your preferred retailer

Nonfiction November Week 2: Book Pairings


This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.

I find that the fiction I read regularly results in searches for further detail involving all sorts of subjects, and I’ve fallen down more than one rabbit hole in my time.

I’ve opted to choose five fiction books I’ve read this year, and paired them with nonfiction books of relevance.

The Newcomer by Laura Elizabeth Woollett is an unconventional murder mystery, told from the perspectives of the victim, Paulina Novak, and her mother, Judy, before and after the fact. It’s set in the early 2000s on a tiny island off the coast of Australia called ‘Fairfolk. The author drew inspiration from the 2002 murder of Janelle Patton on Norfolk Island, which remained unsolved for nearly five years. The details of the case are fascinating and are reported on by Timothy Latham in Norfolk: Island of Secrets.





Lyrical, moving and profound, Charlotte McConaghy’s Once There Were Wolves features a rewilding project to reintroduce wolves into the Scottish Highlands. While no such program currently exists in the country, a similar project was successfully implemented in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone Wolves: Science and Discovery in the World’s First National Park by Douglas W. Smith, Daniel Stahler & Daniel R. MacNulty is the comprehensive story of the wolves’ return to Yellowstone National Park as told by the people responsible for their reintroduction, study, and management.





Girls With Bright Futures by Tracey Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman is a wickedly entertaining novel that exposes the fierce competition for college entry in the United States and parents who are willing to do anything to ensure their precious offspring has every advantage. In Unacceptable: Privilege, Deceit & the Making of the College Admissions Scandal, authors Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz delve into 2019 scandal that made media headlines.





The Enemy Within is Tim Ayliffe’s third exciting thriller to feature investigative journalist John Bailey. In this novel, Bailey uncovers a plot involving right wing extremists and white supremacists conspiring to start a race war in Australia. Fascists Among Us by Jeff Sparrow explores the increasing threat such hate groups pose to the stability of our society, and the role they played in the Christchurch Massacre.





The Last Reunion is a rich and absorbing story about art, war and friendship from internationally bestselling Australian author, Kayte Nunn. The novel centres on the unique role women played in the ‘forgotten war’ in Burma during WWII by running the canteens that catered to the troops engaged in fighting the Japanese. In Front Line and Fortitude: Memoirs of a Wasbie with the ‘Forgotten Army’, Elizabeth Lockhart-Mure draws from her aunt’s personal diary to present a first hand account of their experiences and their magnificent contribution to the war effort.





Thanks for stopping by

Review: A Women’s Place by Deepi Ahluwalia and Jessica Olah


Title: A Woman’s Place: The Inventors, Rumrunners, Lawbreakers, Scientists, and Single Moms Who Changed the World with Food

Author: Deepi Ahluwalia, Jessica Olah

Published: 5th March 2019, Little, Brown and Company

Status: Read November 2021



My Thoughts:

“If a woman’s place has always been in the kitchen, then why does culinary history read like the guest list of some old boys’ club?”

This is the question that inspired Deepi Ahluwalia and Jessica Olah, who have four decades of experience in the food industry, to author A Woman’s Place aiming to share the stories of more than 80 women who have left a lasting mark on history, and whose contribution to the culinary world is often overlooked.

A Woman’s Place is divided into three sections, headed Innovators, Instigators, and Inventors.  Accompanied by full page illustrations, the biographies of each woman, or group of women, are quite short, no more than a page or two, and highlight their connection to food. Recipes accompany some of the entries.

As I was reading I decided to make a note of the entries that surprised or intrigued me to mention in this review, but the list quickly became very long. Ahluwalia and Olah start with Catherine de’ Medici who introduced both Italian ingredients and the use of the fork to the French in the 1500’s, and ends with the San Antonio Chili Queens who sparked the development of Tex-Mex, a popular and uniquely American cuisine. In between are women from varying countries and cultures, through the ages. It’s a joy that women’s historic contributions are finally being recognised and lauded.

A Woman’s Place can be read in one sitting, or browsed when you have a few spare minutes. It is suitable for a wide range of ages, and should appeal not only to foodies but readers interested in history, culture or feminism.


#2021ReadNonFic: FOOD

Nonfiction November Week 1: My Year in Nonfiction


What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?
Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? 
What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?  

Having made a list of the nonfiction I’ve read over the last 12 months I realised I had actually managed to meet my goal of reading at least 2 nonfiction titles a month. Go me! It’s still a bit less than I’d like given my very long WTR list that grows exponentially (especially every November!), but it’s a small victory.




There are a couple of contenders for a favourite nonfiction read this year, but I’m going to select

 The Whale in the Living Room by John Ruthven.



Not something I’d usually choose, I read it to fulfil the Oceanography category for the 2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge. It’s authored by television producer, John Ruthven, who is in part responsible for the extraordinary footage seen in almost fifty ocean life documentaries, including the groundbreaking series’, Blue Planet and Blue Planet II narrated by David Attenborough. I found Ruthven’s stories to be fascinating, related in a personable tone with flashes of humour. He provides insights not only into the complex logistics of filming, but also the subjects themselves, from cuttlefish to blue whales. Reading the book prompted me to binge on the Blue Planet series with a new appreciation for the superb imagery. A well-written, informative book, I’d recommend it to anyone interested in marine life and ecology, travel, environmental issues, ocean diving, wildlife photography/videography, or television production. The Whale in the Living Room is fascinating reading.


The nonfiction title that I feel compelled to recommend is very different

Men Who Hate Women: From Incels to Pickup Artists: The Truth about Extreme Misogyny and How It Affects Us All by Laura Bates.

It’s attracted its fair share of controversy, particularly from the #NotAllMen crowd, but I feel it is an important and informative expose of these types of online groups, how they recruit members, what they believe, and how their rhetoric spills into the real world, inspiring everything from wordless intimidation to mass murders, and even influencing politics. This is a book that will disturb, infuriate, and challenge you, but will hopefully inspire change for the better.


As usual, true crime dominated my nonfiction reading, with Written in Bone by Sue Black, Autopsy by Ryan Blumenthal, and The Schoolgirl Strangler by Katherine Kovacic my favourites. I also read three books with quite unique subjects – two memoirs written by strippers, Sunshine by Samantha C Ross and One Last Dance by Emma Jane Holmes; and a biography of a child spy, With My Little Eye by Sandra Hogan.


I had endeavoured to keep my fiction review schedule for November as clear as possible in anticipation of this event, but I was only semi-successful. I still plan to read as much nonfiction as I can though. I’m hoping to complete my goal for the 2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge, I have five books on that list:


I also have a handful of nonfiction books I received for review during the past year that I need to cross off my schedule.


I have no doubt I’ll be adding even more titles to my WTR list over the course of Nonfiction November, and I hope to squeeze a few of those in too.

I’m looking forward to visiting all the participants in Nonfiction November! Feel free to drop your links in the comments.

Nonfiction November 2020 Week #4: Wrap-Up

Hosted by Katie @ Doing Dewey Decimal

November has passed too quickly! I barely made it halfway through the list of nonfiction books I hoped to read. Here are the books I did get to… (click on the cover to read my review)

I have enjoyed another year of participation in Nonfiction November, I’ve again found some new bloggers to follow, and I have, of course, added a slew of new books that piqued my interest to my WTR list.

(The cover links to the blogger’s post)


Thank you to our hosts, Katie of Doing Dewey Decimal, Julie of JulzReads, Rennie of What’s NonFiction, and Leeann of Shelf Aware. I’m looking forward to next year again already!

If you’ve enjoyed Nonfiction November you might be interested in joining the 2021 Nonfiction Reader Challenge. You can learn more, or sign up, now by clicking HERE.

Review: 2020 Dictionary by Dominic Knight

Title: 2020 Dictionary: The definitive guide to the year the world turned to sh*t

Author: Dominic Knight

Published: 24th November 2020, Allen & Unwin

Read: November 2029 courtesy Allen & Unwin


My Thoughts:

Aaargh Executive summary of this book”

2020 has been an Unprecedented* year.

It started (in Australia) with Black Summer* , thanks in part to the effects of Climate Change* which our Prime Minister Morrison, Scott* vehemently denied from his penthouse suite in Hawaii*.

And then came Covid-19*.

After a brief flirtation with the idea of Herd Immunity*, Australia embraced the policy of Flattening the Curve*, except for those Covidiots* like Jones, Alan*, Evans, Pete*, Karen* and Anti-Maskers* who alternately denied the pandemic was happening at all, and/or spruiked any number of Conspiracy Theories* about its origin, spread and threat level.

First urged to observe Handwashing* and Social Distancing*, and use an Elbow Bump* to greet one another to reduce the spread, any hope of limiting the virus’s impact went out the window when some idiot (Australian Border Force*) let the Ruby Princess* dock in NSW. With talk of Lockdown*, the Panic-Buying* began, resulting in an incomprehensible drought of Toilet Paper*. While the pollies declared we were All In This Together*, they decided it was too dangerous for themselves to continue working, but insisted Essential Workers*, including doctors, nurses, teachers, bottle shop owners and Hairdressers*, did.

Shelter(ing) In Place*, Australians started a Podcast* or Baking* (until we ran out of flour), drank Delgona Coffee*, or indulged in a glass or five of Quarantini*, (but no Corona*), ate Lasagne* or Cake* that didn’t look like cake, watched Exotic, Joe* or TikTok* , all while Doomscrolling* on Twitter*. Some of us were condemned to the torture that is Homeschooling* while simultaneously being stuck in the hell that is WFH* (Working From Home) via Zoom*. Victoria, and Andrews, Daniel* aka Dictator Dan* bore the brunt of Australia’s second wave after the virus escaped from Hotel Quarantine*, and unsurprisingly the Contact Tracing App* was no use at all.

Meanwhile Arden, Jacinda* led the world in the pandemic response, Sweden* got it very wrong, and under the (absence of) leadership from Donald Trump*, the United States* became a Clusterf*ck*, beset by Murder Hornets*, and riots associated with the Black Lives Matter* movement.

The Eurovision Song Contest*, the 2020 Olympics* in Tokyo, and Rowling, J.K.*, were cancelled. We lost Boseman, Chadwick*, Bryant, Kobe* and Bader, Ruth Ginsburg*. Bezos, Jeff* got richer, so too (temporarily) did those on Jobseeker*. Parasite* won a swag of awards. Biden, Joe* became America’s new President-elect, which means Kushner, Jared* will be looking for another job soon.

In short, 2020 has largely been a Dumpster Fire*. Dominic Knight’s 2020 Dictionary will ensure you won’t forget a single detail, and will be a handy reference for the grandkids history school project a few decades from now.

Here’s hoping 2021* will be better!

All the words marked with * , and more, along with their definition can be found in the 2020 Dictionary


Available from Allen & Unwin RRP AUD$29.99

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Booktopia

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