Articles on Books

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McBride’s narrative of trauma negotiates the burdens of Irish literary, religious and cultural history. Mysi

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing – so form an opinion

For you. You’ll soon. You’ll give her name. In the stitches of her skin she’ll wear your say. The foundational challenge of Eimear McBride’s novel is plainly visible in its opening lines, above: the incomplete…
The financial model for Australian poetry publishing is rich and rare. Erich Ferdinand

Profit is rare, but poetry’s weird blooms persist

Recently on The Conversation, I described a remarkable moment of language experimentation highlighted by recent Australian poetry prizes. Panning out to a wider view of contemporary Australian poetry…
What is lost and gained when book reviewers remain faceless? Scott Beale / Laughing Squid, laughingsquid.com

Anonymous book reviews don’t foster our literary culture

The Saturday Paper publishes anonymous book reviews and, occasionally, reviews by identified critics. That anonymity was a much-discussed feature when the paper launched in March, and the debate continues…
Popular fiction and artistic merit are often considered mutually exclusive – not here. chiaralily

The case for Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore

Crime novel covers are often plastered with endorsements: “A terrific read,” “A real page-turner,” or “Author Y is the next Author X.” It’s far less common to read quotes such as the following from Fairfax…
A deeply moving novel about loss, grief and an unconventional coming of wisdom. yaruman5

The case for Randolph Stow’s To the Islands

Randolph Stow’s To the Islands (1958) is an astonishing novel, a work of poetic skill and political subtlety – and one that is rarely mentioned today. Its omission from Australian literary syllabuses and…
La Grande Danse Macabre, printed by Matthias Huss, Lyons, 1499. British Library

Hachette v Amazon, the death of print and the future of the book

The public clash between Hachette and Amazon has been making headlines for a while now, most recently around J K Rowling’s latest novel. Amazon bowed to consumer pressure after complaints that the book…
E-readers are more and more popular – but Australians are slow to take up the option of borrowing e-books from public libraries. Steve Walker

We like e-readers – but library users are still borrowing books

What place do e-readers – and in particular ebooks – hold in the reading behaviour of Australia’s 10 million public library borrowers? There are some 181 million items loaned every year by the nation’s…
New technologies are helping adventurous readers find new contexts for their favourite novels. sama093

Lose yourself in books no more – interactive maps show the way

Ever get lost in a book? A new online database of crowd-sourced information called Placing Literature allows readers to explore the settings they are reading about through an interactive map. To me, this…
Shy people long for social connections but have to fight through a thicket of fears. Lili Vieira de Carvalho

Shyness isn’t nice, but shyness shouldn’t stop you

Shy people have quite a bit to contend with – not least the word itself. It has a number of different meanings, none of which are flattering. To “shy away” from something implies avoidance; to “shy” can…
Hardback, paperback … it’s always good to read between the lines. Dave Sag

Cover story: why are books so expensive in Australia?

Five years ago, in the midst of the rancorous parallel importation debate the Productivity Commission undertook a thorough examination of book prices in Australia compared to comparable prices in the US…
Joyce is remembered in many ways, but not often as a singer. nerosunero

This Bloomsday, remember Joyce as a traditional Irish singer

Bloomsday has come around again, the day (June 16) in 1904 on which all the events of James Joyce’s great novel Ulysses unfold. 1904 was an auspicious year for Joyce. It may surprise some people to know…

Jackets required: Australian book designers unite

The Call for Entries is now open for the 62nd annual Australian Book Design Awards which are seeking the “bravest and brightest, the most original and beautiful” books published before December 31, 2013…
Read on for some pointers … although all will be revealed next week. Paul Bence

Who will win the 2014 Miles Franklin Award?

When Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North was published last year, one reviewer proclaimed he had just read the winner of the 2014 Miles Franklin Award. Flanagan’s novel has now got as…
From suicide to heroin addiction, young adult fiction creates open discussion about the darker issues in our society. Flickr

Young adult fiction’s dark themes give the hope to cope

Problem or issue-based young adult novels are not new occurrences. From John Green’s Fault in Our Stars (2012) to Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why (2007), books aimed at readers as young as 12, and as…
Would a syphilitic Joyce really change the way we read him? Shutterstock/Bepsy

Afflicted or not, James Joyce probed the politics of syphilis

According to Jacques Derrida, “nothing can be invented on the subject of Joyce”. Speaking in 1984, he had in mind the sheer comprehensive power of Joyce’s writing: from the capacity of Ulysses to draw…

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