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BOOK REVIEW: Aliens, Ghosts and Vanishings – Strange and Possibly True Australian Stories by Stella Tarakson, illustrated by Richard Morden

BOOK REVIEW: Aliens, Ghosts and Vanishings – Strange and Possibly True Australian Stories by Stella Tarakson, illustrated by Richard Morden

Random House Australia
October 2016
Hardcover, $27.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Non-Fiction / Unsolved Mysteries

8/10

aliens

Had this book existed twenty-years ago, it would have no doubt been one of my favourites. Just shy of thirty, I’m still a pretty big fan.

I’ve had a lifelong obsession with the bizarre and unexplained, as a child often commandeering my dad’s A4, hardcover books about mysteries and the unexplained. 

This book has far fewer photographs than those others did, but it also has a couple of big points working in its favour. 

  • This book is accessible and interesting for younger readers, and is a lot easier to carry around than those A4 hardcovers.
  • These are all Australian based mysteries, teaching everyone a little more about the goings-on in their own backyard.

 

Categories included in this book:

  • Mythical Creatures
  • Mysterious Locations
  • Haunted Places
  • UFO Sightings
  • Bizarre Disappearances
  • Strange Happenings (including Phar Lap, Spontaneous Human Combustion, and more)

At the end of each category is a list of references so readers can read the source material and look into the mysteries for themselves and, where applicable, the mysteries are linked to similar mysteries overseas, helping us to see how a creature like the Yowie, for example, might have evolved from the same ancestors as the American Big Foot or the Himalayan Yeti; and how our own SS Waratah has been referred to as “The Titanic of the South”.

All in all this is a nicely researched, engaging book, and a brilliant addition to the library of anyone interested in the mysteries that Australia has to offer. The cover and illustrations are definitely marketed towards kids and young teens, but this is a brilliant read for adults, too.

Some passages could have been made clearer with the use of Oxford Commas, but it definitely says something when that’s the biggest issue with the book.

BOOK REVIEW: Aliens, Ghosts and Vanishings - Strange and Possibly True Australian Stories by Stella Tarakson, illustrated by Richard Morden

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