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Australian Biography
The Shock of Recognition: The Books and Music That Have Inspired Me

The Shock of Recognition: The Books and Music That Have Inspired Me

Barry Jones

$32.99

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ABBEY'S CHOICE FEBRUARY 2016 ----- With all his generosity, Barry Jones shares his love of the great literature and music of the world.

'How much time do I have left? A hundred days? A thousand? If I knew I was going to die next week but could be taken to see The Marriage of Figaro tonight, would I go? Absolutely.'

In a long and generously lived life, Barry Jones has been on an endless quest to share the extraordinary and the beautiful, to encourage the pursuit of an abundant life of reading and listening.

Following the publication of A Thinking Reed, he was staggered by the response to his lists of the great works that have had the most profound effect on his life and thinking. Here he expands on those lists to write about the literature and the music that have inspired him. With no claims to objectivity, he urges us to take the plunge, to rattle the bars of the cage and expose ourselves to the music of Hildegard of Bingen, Johann Sebastian Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, Mahler, Ravel and Stravinsky as well as the writings of Homer, Dante, Chaucer, Montaigne, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Sterne, Tolstoy, Proust, Joyce, and Beckett among many more.

Eagerly awaited by his many followers, The Shock of Recognition is a deeply considered, richly rewarding and often very funny journey of the mind.
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Call of the Outback: The Remarkable Story of Ernestine Hill, Nomad, Adventurer and Trailblazer

Call of the Outback: The Remarkable Story of Ernestine Hill, Nomad, Adventurer and Trailblazer

Marianne van Velzen

$32.99

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Long before Robyn Davidson wrote Tracks, the extraordinary Ernestine Hill was dubbed 'The Wild Woman of the Outback' for her intrepid travels through the remotest reaches of Australia...

After the birth of her illegitimate son, Ernestine Hill abandoned her comfortable urban life as a journalist for a nomadic one, writing about this country's vast interior and introducing the outback to the popular imagination of Australians...Throughout the 1930s Ernestine's hugely popular outback stories appeared in newspapers around the country and in journals like Walkabout. She still remains famous for her bestselling books The Great Australian Loneliness, The Territory, Flying Doctor Calling and My Love Must Wait...

Call of the Outback provides a vivid portrait of Ernestine, from the early brilliance she showed as a child in Brisbane to her later life. In particular it evokes Ernestine's larger-than-life personality, the extraordinary characters she met and the exotic landscapes she explored.

Call of the Outback: The Remarkable Story of Ernestine Hill, Nomad, Adventurer and Trailblazer by Marianne van Velzen at Abbey's Bookshop 131 York Street, Sydney
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Mick: A Life of Randolph Stow

Mick: A Life of Randolph Stow

Suzanne Falkiner

$50.00

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Randolph Stow was one of the great Australian writers of his generation. His novel To the Islands  - written in his early twenties after living on a remote Aboriginal mission - won the Miles Franklin Award for 1958. In later life, after publishing seven remarkable novels and several collections of poetry, Stow's literary output slowed.

This biography examines the productive period as well as his long periods of publishing silence.

In Mick: A Life of Randolph Stow, Suzanne Falkiner unravels the reasons behind Randolph Stow's quiet retreat from Australia and the wider literary world. Meticulously researched, insightful and at times deeply moving, Falkiner's biography pieces together an intriguing story from Stow's personal letters, diaries, and interviews with the people who knew him best.

And many of her tales from Stow's beginnings in idyllic rural Australia, to his critical turning point in Papua New Guinea, and his final years in Essex, England, provide us with keys to unlock the meaning of Stow's rich and introspective works.
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This is Gail

This is Gail

Gail O'Brien ,  Juliette O'Brien

$32.99

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An inspiring story of one woman's journey through heartbreaking loss to renewal and new purpose.

In 2008, inspirational surgeon and Lifehouse cancer centre founder Chris O'Brien published his bestselling memoir of his battle with brain cancer, Never Say Die. But he wasn't the only person in the O'Brien household with a powerful story to tell. 

Since Chris passed away in 2009, his wife Gail has gone on a journey of her own:  from a busy surgeon's wife and mother of a picture-perfect family to a widow in her mid-50s, grieving not only her husband but also her son Adam, who died as a result of epilepsy a short time after Chris's death. Yet in the midst of her grief, Gail discovered resolve and strength deep within herself. 

When Chris was alive, Gail was the woman behind the great man.  But after his death, she stepped forward to make her own mark on the world.  While coming to terms with both a public and private loss, Gail took on Chris's legacy as steward of the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse cancer centre, navigating the often bruising politics of boards and committees to ensure his vision was realised.  She also went back to work as a physio after being out of the workforce for 25 years, while still holding her shattered family together. She reinvented herself and found that she could survive and even thrive in a world without her soul mate.

A moving, inspiring, deeply poignant and often joyous story of family, love and loss - and ultimately, about finding your purpose in the world.
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Phantoms of Bribie: The Jungles of Vietnam to Corporate Life and Everything in Between

Phantoms of Bribie: The Jungles of Vietnam to Corporate Life and Everything in Between

Ian Mackay

$29.99

The Phantoms of Bribie is a highly readable blend of an engaging yarn and a fascinating portrayal of operational service in Vietnam as an infantry company commander, leading some 100 fine young national service and regular soldiers in close quarter jungle fighting. Ians training within the SAS and operational service in Malaya served him well in Vietnam where he was a company commander of Bravo Company 6 RAR.

During Operation Bribie he lead his outnumbered company’s desperate bayonet charge, followed by close quarter fighting, against a well dug in and determined enemy. This action sharply illustrated the courage, the battle discipline and the spirit of the well trained Australian combat infantryman. On leaving the Army, Ian excelled in the Australian and international business worlds.

A multi-talented sportsman, Rugby Union remained his passion, in which he performed to international level. Ian outlines the difference between leadership and management using many interesting and often humorous examples. Both qualities are vital for successful senior operatives in both civilian and military organisations. Most importantly, as Ian explains, a good leader must also be an effective decision maker and a good communicator.
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Stone Cold: The Extraordinary Story of Len Opie, Australia's Deadliest Soldier

Stone Cold: The Extraordinary Story of Len Opie, Australia's Deadliest Soldier

Andrew Faulkner

$32.99

A soldier cast in the image of Anzac, and revered in the post World War II military as a peerless fighter, Len Opie stands alone in the Australian military pantheon. But he was a paradox. A cold-eyed killer who drank nothing stronger than weak tea, he killed people with his bare hands, a sharpened shovel and piano wire. He was a larrikin who went by the book, unless the book was wrong. He set his own bar high and expected others to do the same...

This, the first Opie biography, traces his fighting history from the jungles of New Guinea and Borneo to Korea, where he emerged from the ranks to excel in the epic Battle of Kapyong and play a key role at the Battle of Maryang San. Then, as a member of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, Opie joined the CIA's black ops program Phoenix, and as head of training found himself at the heart of the American counterinsurgency war in Vietnam...

Andrew Faulkner explores the action-packed and surprising life of an extraordinary Australian soldier.
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The Extraordinary Life of the Wildlife Man

The Extraordinary Life of the Wildlife Man

David Ireland

$34.99

No man loves having double pneumonia and dengue fever, or having his back broken by a whale or ribs shattered by a wild boar. But feeling the breath of a lion as he devours a wildebeest, filming inside the jaws of a saltwater crocodile, or looking into the black eyes of a great white shark is worth every second of pain.

Wildlife expert, crocodile hunter, snake handler, shark wrangler, professional diver and conservationist, David Ireland has led a life of high adventure, marked with extraordinary success and profound tragedy. He started life as a severely asthmatic kid with a speech impediment - the target of bullies wherever he went. But with the help of a mail-order exercise program, an insatiable thirst for adventure, and some unbelievably lucky escapes, he became one of the world's most sought-after wildlife film producers. David has brushed up against nature's raw power so often, it's a wonder he's alive to tell these tales. In his game, knowing when to obey fear and when to ignore it can be the difference between life and death. 

He has survived his hijinks (pretty much) unscathed thanks to well-honed instincts, immense strength of character, and a deep respect for the beasts he chases across the globe.
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The Last Showman

The Last Showman

Fred Brophy

$24.99

'My life has been a mad travelling show, meeting some of the strangest and greatest people who've ever lived. I've had my fair share of trouble and I'm lucky to be here. But I've always been a showman and I've done my best to preserve a precious part of an old Australia that's fast disappearing.' Son of a sideshow operator and trapeze artist, fourth-generation showman Fred Brophy grew up on the road, travelling the length and breadth of Australia. He did time in jail as a wild teenager before establishing his own successful boxing tent. It has become a star attraction in the Outback and is now the only one of its kind in the world. Fred tells stories of living on the smell of an oily rag, rescuing battlers, and becoming embroiled in some of the most bizarre adventures imaginable. This is one helluva life, full of hardship, hilarity and unexpected turns, including Fred being inducted into the Queensland Boxing Hall of Fame and receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia. 'Now ladies and gentlemen, let's go inside. The show's about to begin ...'
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Jacky Redgate: Mirrors

Jacky Redgate: Mirrors

Jacky Redgate

$29.95

Jacky Redgate is regarded as one of Australia's leading contemporary artists, with over 35 years of continuous creation, exhibition and innovation. She is well known for her eminent minimalist-conceptual works based on systems and logic, but in recent work Redgate has teased audiences with a combination of photographic abstraction and an autobiographical mask of mirrors. Reinventing her oeuvre over the last two decades with a series of studio experiments engaging light and reaction, Redgate has produced a remarkable body of work charged with formal and conceptual intensity. Redgate's mirror works, including a new project using found photographs, was exhibited at the University Art Gallery, the University of Sydney, to much acclaim in 2015 and this comprehensive publication unpacks the signifcance of this exciting new series for the very first time.
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