Articles on Books

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New technologies are taking books and libraries to places that are, as yet, unimaginable. Shutterstock

Friday essay: why libraries can and must change

The history of the library is replete with mechanical marvels. More than collections of books, libraries are social, cultural and technological institutions that house the very idea of a society.
School children read books at Palipis beach in Mandar, West Sulawesi. The books were brought by library boat. Pattingalloang, which was part of a network of moving libraries called Pustaka Bergerak. Urwa/Pustaka Bergerak

Disadvantaged Indonesians defy the perception that they’re not interested in reading

Indonesian politicians and public figures say Indonesians have a low interest in reading. But people in disadvantaged areas defy this perception; they always welcome new books with joy.
A banana on the salt lake plain at Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, hints at themes of genetics, food and human journeys in three books recommended by fly scientist Thomas Merritt. Shutterstock

Worth reading: Bananas, dwarves, salt and love

A fly scientist ponders the genetics of bananas and dwarves, women and love in reviews of his favourite fiction and non-fiction books.
Posters of various newspapers paying tribute after the death of former South African President Nelson in 2013. Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

The withdrawal of the Mandela book was nothing short of censorship

Some have suggested that the publisher and author of 'Mandela's Last Years' were simply attempting to cash in on the Mandela legacy. This is not a basis for the withdrawal of a book.
Saturday is Love Your Bookshop Day – but bookshops face many challenges. Shutterstock

Love of bookshops in a time of Amazon and populism

Despite dire predictions, bookstores are doing well: they are curators of taste and community hubs. But their challenges are many – from the arrival of Amazon Down Under to a 'post-truth' climate that devalues knowledge.
Former Globe and Mail newspaper reporter turned novelist Omar El Akkad contemplates his debut book American War in his publisher’s Toronto office in this 2017 file photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

Worth reading: Future visions of women, war, time and space

Astronomer Bryan Gaensler picks five speculative and science fiction novels worth reading, including Omar El Akkad's _American War_.
Nearly three-quarters of Australians go to live art events, such as Dark Mofo in Hobart. Stefan Karpiniec/Flickr

Creative country: 98% of Australians engage with the arts

New survey from the Australia Council shows pretty much all Australians engage with the arts, and 8-in-10 do so online. However more people are ambivalent about public arts funding, and more people think the arts are too expensive.

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