Hi everyone,
This summer, when I’m not diving into the ocean near our shack down south, I’ve been diving into a few terrific little books.

The first one is for anyone who is struggling to get their head around artificial intelligence. It’s called ‘The ChatGPT’ Revolution, by Donna McGeorge. (OMG, what a mind-boggling AI writing tool!). I lost myself in this book on a flight from Perth to Melbourne recently. I came away thinking I need to embrace this technology because it’s only going to get bigger and more ingrained into our daily lives. McGeorge is very good at dumbing things down. She explains in simple language what ChatGBT is capable of, how you can think of it as a lightning-fast virtual assistant. But (and it’s a big BUT), it can’t do everything. In fact, it can make plenty of mistakes. For instance, it can present information in a way that sounds accurate and authoritative, but it’s just plain wrong. The information is incorrect. Or out of date. Or the tone you’re looking for is completely wrong. Professionally, I’m relieved to know there is still a role for experienced copywriters (and authors). Personally, I’m going to give it a crack at planning my next vacation. It’s a great little read with heaps of practical examples. Available in hard-cover and E-book.

Another non-fiction book is called Toxic, the Rotting Underbelly of the Tasmanian Salmon Industry by Richard Flanagan – this book is equal parts disturbing and illuminating. It has been out for a few years now, and is brilliantly researched. At the same time, Flanagan has seen first-hand what the introduction of salmon farms has done to the once pristine waters off Bruny Island. In fact, it’s been so devastating to him personally that he left the island years ago. What the book asserts (and it’s hard to argue) is how much the Tasmanian salmon farming industry leverages off the ‘clean and green’ image of the state. But the reality is there’s nothing clean and green about their operations. It’s more dirty and brown, like swirling toilet bowls in our rivers and seas. Frankly, it’s put me off eating farmed Atlantic salmon altogether, especially in this part of the world. Richard Flanagan has written some cracking novels, but this book is arguably his greatest achievement.

In terms of fiction, I stumbled upon a crime novel on the bookshelf at home called Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly. (what a find!) It is the 21st novel featuring Connelly’s most frequent protagonist, veteran homicide cop Harry Bosch. It’s also the second novel featuring Connelly’s newest protagonist, a younger LAPD cop Renee Ballard. This time around they’re investigating the death of a 15-year old runaway (Daisy Clayton) who was murdered and her body left in a dumpster. It’s a serious page-turner in typical Connelly style. He makes crime writing look effortless, and he sure can crank them out. His characters are complex, his plots are full of unexpected twists, and he writes dialogue that zings off the page.