‘Tokyo Style Guide’ by Jane Lawson


Genre: Travel

This book was reviewed on the ABC radio program ‘Overnights with Rod Quinn’ as part of my Christmas special. The podcast of the review is available under the ‘Podcasts’ tab if you want to hear the full review (:

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book before my upcoming trip to Japan and I was able to use the book while I was in Tokyo. So this review is first hand experience. I also spoke to Jane Lawson, who is an expert on all things Japan!


A before and after review to correspond with my upcoming trip to Tokyo. I’ve also included a few snaps from my trip while I was trying out some of the walks (:

This travel book has a less formal approach compared to a Lonely Planet or a DK travel guide. It focuses on breaking Tokyo up into the famous districts, it then tells you a little bit about them and the gives a suggested walk with corresponding pictures.
Visually this is an incredibly appealing book and the personal detail provided by Lawson gives the book a special feeling of being unique and almost reads like a blog post

A small portion of the book is dedicated to the standard ‘Where to Stay’ and ‘Useful Phrases’ and other useful tips and tricks

The walking directions are very detailed and specific. Due to the constant changing of the Tokyo landscape (there’s an enormous amount of infrastructure constantly going on in the city) this book was already slightly out of date with some of the routes.

An introductory guide to Tokyo, it’s informative without being overwhelming. It allows you to capture your own impression of the city and make it your own trip
Highly recommended!




PODCAST UPDATE! A Summer of Fish and Veggies

Have a listen to Vanessa’s full review of ‘The Sound of Summer’ by Jim Maxwell, ‘The Vegetarian’ by Han Kang and ‘The Australian Fish and Seafood Cookbook’ on ABC Radio’s ‘Overnights’ featuring presenter Rod Quinn.

Jim Maxwell is a renowned Australian cricket commentator whose voice and comments about the sport are synonymous with Australian summers. Vanessa was lucky enough to chat with Jim about his new memoirs and to understand a little more about why cricket captures the hearts of so many people.

‘The Vegetarian’ won the Man Booker International Prize in 2016 and is a succinct, poetic read

Vanessa has a passion for cooking and tried and tested recipes from the ‘Australian Fish and Seafood Cookbook’ as part of her review

PODCAST UPDATE! Holiday Reads (…but really anytime reads)

At Christmas time last year I had a special book review segment that focused on Books for the Holidays. Basically, new books that would make great gifts. None of these books have a Christmas theme but were chosen based on a variety of genres and interests. It was a challenging review because not all of these are my kind of books but it was fun to give them a go (:


The list included:

-‘The Riviera Set’ by Mary S. Lovell, glamour, glamour, glamour…think real life Great Gatsby. A luxury hotel on the French Rivera, owned by an actress and hosted some famous guests such as Winston Churchill and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Highly recommend

-‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ by Peter Wohlleben, not really a me book but this was incredibly popular over the Christmas period and one that I’m quite pleased to have on my bookshelf because I know I’ll refer to it again someday

-‘The Arrival’ by Ted Chiang, this was actually a short story that subsequently became the great film starring Amy Adams. This is a collection of short stories by Chiang, who is a renowned science fiction writer

-‘Tokyo Style Guide’ by Jane Lawson, I asked for this one book in preparation for my trip to Japan and found it had some great tips of Tokyo. I even was given the chance to interview Jane and found out she’s an expert on all things Japan, she also runs a tour group through Kyoto that finds hidden gems! The book is laid out like a blog and isn’t as formal as your typical Lonely Planet guide book. It has some great walks around different suburbs that I tried and tested when in Tokyo. I highly recommend and hope Jane writes more about Japan in the future


-‘The Nakano Thrift Shop’ by Hiromi Kawakami, another Japan book (…I was very excited about my trip) This was an incredibly quirky read that almost felt like a Japanese Seinfeld. Each chapter telling the different happenings and eccentric customers that come through the thrift shop. What I’d call a ‘raw read’

-‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness, this one I did in preparation for the film that was about to be released. Poetically beautiful, this book deals with death and mourning in an incredibly delicate way. Ness finished the story that was originally started by Siobhan Dowd, who unfortunately passed away passed away in 2007. I wouldn’t call this your average young adult, it’s much more

PERSONAL FAVOURITE ‘The Dangers of Truffle Hunting’ by Sunni Overend


Genre: Fiction/Romance

This book was my holiday read- a book to sit by the pool, drink my bellini and soak up some good old fashion R&R. I’m glad to say that this book delivered.
A story for the senses. A story to give you the feels. A story to make you feel glamorous! This is the story of Kit Gossard, who is a food photographer working for a food stylist magazine called Hamper. Kit comes from food royalty, with her owning one of the oldest and biggest wineries in Australia. She also is engaged a famous interior designer, Scott and to everynoe, they’re a perfectly stylish couple. Kit seems to have the perfect life, so why does she feel incomplete, unsatisfied, hungry for more? It’s only when a Raph, a new employee at the winery to arrive for Kit to realise that something is missing in her life- that her creativity and sexuality are being stiffled.
What can only be described as a juicy, luscious read, it’ll have you craving breads, cheeses, trips to France and hot nights.
Great for fans of Candace Bushell will love this book. It has lust, love, fame, wine, rich people, the whole shebang. What caught my attention was the beautiful settings! Gorgeous images of french countryside, picturesque vineyards and trendy city bars!

Feast for the senses (:


PERSONAL FAVOURITE ‘Speaking Out’ by Tara Moss


Genre: Non-fiction

In 2016 I interviewed Tara Moss about her recently released book ‘Speaking Out’ and had the opportunity to ask what the motivation behind the book was and the current reaction.

Tara Moss is an admirable woman. Being a journalist, author and TV presenter has given her a strong presence in media for nearly twenty years. Throughout that time she has felt the incredible highs the spotlight can bring but has also felt the intense, furious presence of sexism within the media and cyber abuse against women. Her experiences have championed her to take action against this. Tara is a human rights advocate and cyberbullying campaigner. Tara has also been an ambassador for UNICEF since 2007.

Having written 11 best-selling novels and her critically acclaimed non-fiction book ‘The Fictional Woman’ Tara is no stranger to writing. Her latest book Speaking Out continues her campaign to stop online abuse and help give women equal chances in a ‘man’s world’

Speaking Out is a step-by-step handbook for how women of all ages can openly voice their opinions in today’s society safely and confidently. It provides tips, instructions and personal accounts for women who have done just that, spoken out or written about something that has had it’s messages tainted not by the content but simply because of the sex of the speaker.


The introduction to the book is all about why it matters that women should care about speaking out about issues that are important to them and Tara puts in a lot of statistics to back herself up e.g. wordwide less than ¼ people we hear about in the media are female and that men outnumber women in parliament by 4 to 1.

Considering that half of humanities perspectives, opinions and possibly solutions are being under-represented women need to learn how to have their voices heard

The book covers many topics:

*When to be paid for your writing and generally how much

*Legal rights

*Dealing with online abuse

*Tips on public speaking

It’s an interesting read, not necessarily something you do cover to cover but you can really appreciate where Tara is coming from. That the issued raised are from her own personal experience, as well as other women (so you get a broad perspective)

The main issue I have with this book is that it’s designed to be a reference for women to pick up when needed and be helpful. The problem is that it’s not set out well enough be like that. The topics are too intertwined and chapters are too dense with text to find what you’re looking for in a hurry or stressed

As a prominent female public figure if this book had had an online presence, in the form of a blog for instance, or had been an ongoing campaign where women could post and interact with one another regarding speaking out, I felt this would have been more effective but as a book, it’s limited.

That being said, I have picked up Speaking Out over the past year before job interviews, radio gigs and even before having difficult conversations to give myself clarity and remind myself of what I can do to made myself be heard.

This is one I think every young woman should have in her bookshelf!

Love Vanessa