My New Gig at Mountain Radio – Reviews -“The Joyce Girl”, “Mrs Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” and “Women Who Read Are Dangerous”.


‘Life is a comedy for those who think, and a tragedy for those who feel.’ 

French Essayist Jean de la Bruyere

Today, I was interviewed by radio presenter, Ann Creber for Mountain Radio in Emerald  – The Dandenong Ranges, in which I hope to make a regular appearance once a month.  

The Show is called ‘The Books I am Reading Now’.  

Totally enjoyable.

You can listen live on the following link on the First Monday of the Month between 4:30 PM AND 5:00 PM



by  Annabel Abbs

Hachette Publishing

Paperback  $ 32.99  

2.5 stars out of 5


Based on the ‘true’ story  – more a fabrication-  of the heartbreaking,tragic story of Lucia Joyce (1907 – 1982) daughter of one of the most Modernist writers of the twentieth century –  the Irish author James Joyce.

Set in avant-garde Paris  in the Twenties, the novel chronicles Lucia’s tormented, nomadic childhood and her  erratic behaviour – upon which the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung diagnosed as “schizoid characteristics” and her father’s deliberation of Lucia entering a sanatorium in Paris at the age of twenty-eight—she was his muse for ‘Finnegan’s Wake— her  passion for dancing – in fact, Lucia had trained under Raymond Duncan (brother of Isadora), her ill-fated affairs with Samuel Beckett and Alexander Calder, and perhaps the most sinister, Abbs’s accusation that she and her brother Giorgio committed incest –  plus, Nora Barnacle ‘s perennial jealousy of her daughter. Finally, when Lucia was admitted to the hospital in 1936, Nora never saw her daughter again.



by Ransom Riggs

Random House


380 pages


3 out of 5 stars


Ransom Riggs is a contemporary writer from Florida writer who studied at the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television.

The debut novel was released in 2011 and the movie (directed by Tim Burton) is in cinemas now.

An unusual, macabre read, combining fiction and photography, gothic in nature and ‘wondrously strange’ in the spirit of John Green’s work (The Fault in our Stars).


The protagonist is sixteen-year-old Jacob, beginning a journey from Florida to try and retrace his eccentric grandfather’s life in a boyhood orphanage on a remote Welsh island. Growing up, Jacob was enthralled by his Polish-born grandfather Abraham Portland’s adventurous and magical life – maybe, even eerie – as he relayed the stories of Miss Peregrine’s nightmarish orphanage for ‘peculiar children’—a girl who could fly, a boy who had bees living inside him, the twins who could lift boulders and many more—plus, his grandfather was convinced ‘the monsters were always chasing him’.

Was it Abraham’s imagination?

Hallucinations due to his advancing age? Finally, Jacob realizes these were not ‘fairy’ stories – in fact, they were horror stories!

The analogy being that Abraham was sent away at the age of twelve years, from Poland  to escape the Nazis, on a ship to England, and never saw his family again.

A fascinating, atmospheric tale – a page-turner as the ‘peculiar’ characters come to life!

NB: Rigg’s novel has sold millions in the last few years and has been translated into forty languages.



by Stefan Bollman

Abbeville Press


150 pages



Stefan Bollman is a German writer – originally published in 2005 – this book is now re-published 2016.

The engaging artworka are from private collections and smaller European museums.

Foreword by Karen Joy Fowler (We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves 2013).

A compelling selection of seventy diverse paintings, drawings, prints, photography and literary quotes of women reading through the ages.

Once upon a time, a woman with a book was deemed to be idle!!! With the Age of Industrialization and a revolution in education, a new wave of literacy emerged.

Admire the works of Jan Vermeer to Edward Hopper – Rembrandt- Edward Burne Jones – Lawrence Alma- Tadema – James McNeill Whistler et al.

On the cover, ‘Dreams’ (1896) by Vittorio Matteo Corcos and on the back jacket a black and white photograph of Lee Miller and Tanja Ramm (1931) seated under a tapestry by Jean Cocteau.

A provocative read and a perfect gift for lovers of art and literature.


Weekend Review—21 and 22 August 2016—Far & Away


Reporting from the Brink of Change: Seven Continents, Twenty-Five Years

by Andrew Solomon


Publisher Random House


RRP: $35.00

Pages: 590

ISBN: 97817484741129

Andrew Solomon is a professor of psychology at Columbia University and President of PEN American Centre. A Wellcome-Trust prize and National Book Award winner, his pieces date back to the 1980s.

A journalist and essayist and lecturer on politics and culture and LGBTI rights, we have reviewed Solomon’s books over the years.

A riveting collection of essays  – art and artists from Russia to South Africa  – Moscow in 1991 – a memoir of Romania in 1900 from whence his great-great grandparents emigrated – global stories of profound upheaval – a 2002 account of the rebirth of culture in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban and Myanmar moving towards freedom to sexual identity in Ghana  plus some very personal pieces regarding his documented depression—among other things.

Wonderfully written— filled with fierce compassion and insight.

Book of the Week—16 August 2016—The Desert Vet



by Alex Tinson  with David Hardaker


Publisher Allen & Unwin


RRP: $29.99

Pages: 230

ISBN: 9781760292829

Alex Tinson is a former Sydney vet and has lived for nearly thirty years in the United Arab Emirates.Now the chief vet for the racing camels of the President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, His Royal Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed.

The Research Centre was started thirty years ago and has been a global pioneer in embryo transfer technology.

David Hardaker is a former ABC Middle East correspondent and Walkley award winning journalist. He has lived and worked for many years in the Middle East and speaks Arabic fluently.

So, how did a  St.Ives vet reach this pinnacle in Abu Dhabi and Dubai? 

After he worked at Bacchus Marsh Lion Safari Park, he and his family moved to Tweed Heads whereby, fate intervened , and he received a call to remove the testicles of six camels – which, ultimately the task segued Great Australian Camel Race in 1988.

Fast forward – Tinson is now both obsessed and fascinated by camels, and as a result, he is head-hunted to set up a hospital for camels in the U.A.E.   Camels are integral to tribal history and they are the heart and soul of what it means to be an Emirati.

A fascinating insight into the luxurious world of ‘gleaming Rolex watches and Maserati’s of the Sheikhs  –  a tax-free high salary where many come for a life-changing income’ and Tinson’s account of a life ‘gone from rags to riches then to rags again and finally back to riches again.’

It is patently obvious that Alex Tinson loves life in the U.A.E. as his enthusiasm literally, jumps off the pages.

A fine read.

Brief Mentions

Travelling Tinker Man and Other Rhymes

by David Essex


Publisher Head of Zeus Hachette


RRP: $19.99

Pages: 144

ISBN: 9781784082345

Back in the 70’s , David Essex was a ‘pop sensation’ – best known for ‘Rock On’ and later became a stage and musical actor –  now, he has written a collection of seventy-five poems, lyrics and musings including his family’s traveller roots.

Sentiment,humour,triumph and tragedy – writings from a man who has lived and loved life.

Clare Calvet’s Weekend Reads – Crime Night—Redeemable -A Memoir of Darkness and Hope by Erwin James

Book Cover—Redeemable by Erwin James

Nearly 20 years ago, Erwin James was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. He writes with honesty and great lucidity about learning the who, what, why and when of prison life and how, in the depths of the system seemingly designed to destroy the soul, he nonetheless discovered self-worth through education and a talent for writing.

The author’s background starts with a childhood with a father who turned to alcohol and violence, after James’ mother died when he was seven years old.

In his teenage years, he drifted, committing petty crimes culminating in the vicious murder for which he was jailed for life in 1984.

Thanks to the support of the prison psychologist, Joan, he transformed his life over the course of 20 years, completing a B.A. in History and writing columns for The Guardian.

A timely memoir, the author now lives in Wales and is a speaker and commentator on prison issues in the U.K. He is now a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts and an Honorary Master of the Open University. James has also appeared at The Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House.

An unforgettable memoir – touched by compassion and pathos – it shows that redemption is possible.

PS. For all my contact details and to find out more about the my book reviews on Tony Delroy’s Nightlife Show on ABC Radio, go to my About page.

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Hello, World—Clare’s First Book Blog


Clare Calvet

Hello, everyone!

As many of you might already know, I’ve been reviewing books on ABC Radio’s Tony Delroy Show for the past twenty-five years.

Well, Clare Calvet has finally decided to join the 21st Century and start her own book blog!

I’m so exited!!!

This will be a place where my listeners can read my thoughts about books, writers and writing.

I often also get requests from people who are interested in writing and getting published, so you’ll find A LOT of information about that here too.

And of course, there will be LOTS of reviews.

So, welcome. I look forward to writing my blog and, if you’d like to contact me, you can reach me at the following email:

Looking forward to it.



PS. For all my contact details and to find out more about the my book reviews on Tony Delroy’s Nightlife Show on ABC Radio, go to my About page.

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