Books

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Jane Eyre has been retold over and over again, but remains eternally relevant. Jane Eyre (2011), Focus Features

Why Charlotte Brontë still speaks to us – 200 years after her birth

Charlotte Brontë's heroines - most famously Jane Eyre - struggle with psychologically complex questions. And unlike Jane Austen's female protagonists, they prize self knowledge and self expression over conventional moralism.
The common grey silverfish, Ctenolepisma longicaudata, in Sydney. Graeme Smith

Hidden housemates: book-loving silverfish

Silverfish have disappeared from our homes as book-bindings - their favourite food - have improved.
‘All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost’ - ancient Elvish verse of prophecy. Shutterstock/Serhii Bobyk

How to invent a Tolkien-style language

Quenya, Sindarin, Klingon and Dothraki – there's an art to making up languages.
EL James: the infamous ‘Fifty Shades’ author. REUTERS/Neil Hall

What makes a book ‘good’?

A poor review doesn't make for a bad book. But a good one doesn't make for a good one either.
Journalists Alexander Clifford of the Daily Mail and Alan Moorehead of the Daily Express in the North African desert, 1942. Imperial War Museum, via Wikimedia Commons.

‘Our man elsewhere’: Alan Moorehead in war and peace

Alan Moorehead's accounts of the second world war revealed his vital and gripping talent, but his peacetime novels were stilted and corny. A new biography delves into his life and language.
All to often, true crime books have glorified male violence and reproduced crude sexist stereotypes. Jari Schroderus

True crime interrogates toxic masculinity, at last

The genre that brought us the writings of Mark "Chopper" Read isn't known for its impeccable gender politics. But two new books cast a critical eye on a culture of male violence.
Argentinian artist Raul Lemesoff drives his vehicle called “Arma de Instruccion Masiva” (weapon of mass instruction) through Buenos Aries. What is Australia doing to protect its publishing industry? Marcos Brindicci

Friday essay: thriving societies produce great books – can Australia keep up?

Books contain ideas. They enable minds to shine. Our publishing industry is under pressure on many fronts – yet cultural matters seem of little significance to the federal government.
Discworld is a wildly inventive literary creation that sprawls over dozens of books. David Skinner

A beginner’s guide to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

This Saturday it will be a year since Alzheimer's stole Terry Pratchett from the world. We mark the occasion with a beginner's guide to his most enduring creation, the 41-book Discworld series.
Since 2009, record sales have soared. 'Records' via www.shutterstock.com

How digital technology spawned retro’s revival

While technological advances have rendered some products obsolete, they've also spurred the growth of niche markets that cater to people looking to reject mass-produced goods.

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