Simon Leys intervened on a broad range of topics: Mother Teresa, the continuing relevance of George Orwell, conservative values, and the role of the university in the pursuit of truth.
Pierre Ryckmans - also known by his nom-de-plume, Simon Leys - was an inspirational teacher, the bête-noire of sinology and an outspoken public intellectual. A new biography tells his story.
New technologies are taking books and libraries to places that are, as yet, unimaginable.
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.
Detail from Paula Modersohn-Becker’s Reclining Mother and Child.
Paula Modersohn-Becker painted female nudes unlike anything seen before. A new book brings to life this groundbreaking artist, who died at just 31.
We’re still not really sure whether puberty is starting earlier.
A new book on puberty has explored why we find it so difficult to talk about puberty, and why we need to start talking about it earlier.
A new book explores consciousness, awareness and memory when under the knife.
Author Kate Cole-Adams delves into fascinating questions about consciousness and self.
Donald Horne saw Australia as a country that had got lucky, but was squandering its luck.
Donald Horne saw Australia as a lucky country that was squandering its luck. His bold ideas captured the nation's imagination. But being a public intellectual is no longer easy. Who will come up with the next grand ideas?
A new book expresses concern that the ‘average American’ has base knowledge so low that it is now plummeting to ‘aggressively wrong’.
Tom Nichols' book The Death of Expertise examines why the relationship between experts and citizens in a democracy is collapsing, and what can be done about it.
There are several ways into the book Shaping the Fractured Self: poetry of chronic illness and pain, edited by Heather Taylor Johnson. And there are many uses it might serve in the multiple worlds of poetry…
Leo Zeilig’s latest novel is set in the Robert Mugabe-ruled Zimbabwe.
Leo Zeilig's novel features a superbly crafted cast of characters. It's a page turner for readers interested in the profound questions of radical politics and humanity.
The Green Bell illustrates a life of complete and careless love, and utter grief: author Paula Keogh and poet Michael Dransfield in the early 1970s.
The lovers at the centre of The Green Bell - its author, Paula Keogh, and that passing meteor of Australian poetry, Michael Dransfield - met in the psychiatric unit of Canberra Hospital.
Climate fiction: A novel describes New Yorkers keeping on even after 50 feet of sea-level rise next century.
A researcher on sea level rise and climate change impacts reviews Kim Stanley Robinson's new novel, 'New York 2140,' which envisions the city's future in the face of extreme sea-level rise.
Fragrance is intimately linked with our memories and feelings.
J. Sibiga Photography/Flickr
Surely only a weirdo wouldn't enjoy the smell of flowers and pine forests? But as Kate Grenville writes in her latest book, fragrance causes untold misery to many of us.
A work of fiction gives an interesting insight into the real world of science research.
Thomas Barlow is more used to writing factual reports on science innovation, so his first novel gives an entertaining insight into the science community.
Even 'madmen' have their motives for fighting.
Enough with the charming, naughty funny-guy rants. There are too many in a new anthology of Australian comedy writing – and women display a superior comic imagination.
The Andromeda Galaxy, just part of a finely tuned universe.
Flickr/NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B.F. Williams, and L.C. Johnson (University of Washington), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler
A new book explores some of the big questions of why the universe exists and why it seems fine-tuned for life.
South African policewomen on beach patrol.
A tone of bitter disillusionment dominates the book, which combines self-deprecating anecdotes with reflections on the unique strangeness of policing a post-apartheid South African city.
Are contemporary insults as witty as the scorn of the past?
Scorn has a long and humorous history. But a new book on the subject, featuring quotes from Kanye West, Christopher Hitchens and of course, Donald Trump, rather lacks contemporary wit.
BBC/Two Brothers Pictures Ltd.
Women’s privates have moved to the front and centre of popular entertainment. And they're not always pretty.
DeLillo's latest novel dwells on the implications of accelerating technology – including the practice of freezing dead bodies in the hope that one day, they could become immortal.