Category

Words & Ideas

Dawood Amiri is an ethnic Hazara who, in 2010, made the fateful decision to seek asylum in Australia. He arrived in Indonesia in 2010, and after various adventures and misadventures, was captured along with over 150 other refugees when he was about to board a boat headed for Christmas Island. After a long stint in detention, ... read more

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Women are standing up and #shoutingback. In a culture that's driven by social media, for the first time women are using this online space (@EverydaySexism www.everydaysexism.com) to come together, share their stories and encourage a new generation to recognise the problems that women face. This book is a call to arms in a new... read more

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'Pink is my favourite colour. I used to say my favourite colour was black to be cool, but it is pink - all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I'm not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.' In these funny and insightful essays, R... read more

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The Freakonomics books have come to stand for challenging conventional wisdom; using data rather than emotion to answer questions. Now Levitt and Dubner have turned what they've learned into a readable and practical toolkit for thinking smarter, harder, and different - thinking, that is, like a Freak. Think Like a Freak offer... read more

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AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY IN INDEPENDENT BOOKSHOPS FOR INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLERS WEEK - 28TH JUNE-5TH JULY 2014 Mark Forsyth - author of the Sunday Times Number One bestseller The Etymologicon - reveals in this essay, specially commissioned for Independent Booksellers Week, the most valuable thing about a really good bookshop. Alon... read more

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After decades of prosperity Australians are now worried about their jobs, their incomes and their future. The mining boom, said to explain Australia's past success, is declared to be over. Unemployment has increased, carmakers have folded, the government is running a huge deficit. In a striking analysis, economist John Edward... read more

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After the publication of his novel Slaughterhouse-Five (Delacorte, 1959) brought him worldwide acclaim in 1969, Kurt Vonnegut became one of America's most popular graduation speakers. There were years when public speaking was his main source of income and he put a great deal of thought and preparation into the things he said ... read more

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In Quarterly Essay 53, Paul Toohey looks at one of Tony Abbott's signature promises: to stop the boats. Has his government succeeded? If so, at what cost? In Java, Toohey observes asylum seekers heading for Australia and reports on the Indonesian response.

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This is a hilarious look at the aging baby boomer generation from the author the Spectator labelled 'what happens when America does Grumpy Old Men'. The Baby Boom - over-sized, overwrought, overbearing, and all over the place, from Donovan to Obama. The generation that said with a straight face, 'We are the world.' What's so ... read more

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Wide-ranging in theme and context, it explores the imaginative effects of his writing. A tribute to Chris on the occasion of this eightieth birthday, in many ways it suggests an alternative cultural history of Australia since the 1950s. Containing biographical and critical pieces, poems (including new work by Chris) and essay... read more

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A central bond, a cherished value, a unique relationship, a profound human need, a type of love. What is the nature of friendship, and what is its significance in our lives? How has friendship changed since the ancient Greeks began to analyze it, and how has modern technology altered its very definition? In this fascinating e... read more

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Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Category:

 Essays

Series:Writers on Writers

When facing a moral dilemma, Isabel Dalhousie - Edinburgh philosopher, amateur detective, and title character of a series of novels by best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith - often refers to the great twentieth-century poet W. H. Auden. This is no accident: McCall Smith has long been fascinated by Auden. Indeed, the nove... read more

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In this timely Quarterly Essay, Andrew Charlton demolishes some myths about Australia's long boom. Around 2000 Australia's economy became tied to the supercharged rise of China. We had the good fortune to have exactly the resources it wanted.

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Where does Homer come from? And why does Homer matter? His epic poems of war and suffering can still speak to us of the role of destiny in life, of cruelty, of humanity and its frailty, but why they do is a mystery. How can we be so intimate with something so distant? In this passionate and deeply personal book, Adam Nicolson... read more

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Only dead languages don't change; living ones change all the time. From aitch to amazeballs, from mondegreens to man boobs, there is no topic too controversial or complex for Australia's most influential editor, Susan Butler. Sue, long-time editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, takes you on an insightful, often hilarious explor... read more

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Born Bad is the latest book from James Boyce, acclaimed author and historian. Boyce traces a history of original sin from Adam and Eve, St Augustine and Martin Luther to Adam Smith, Sigmund Freud and Richard Dawkins. According to original sin, humans are 'born bad' and only God's grace can bring salvation. Although Christiani... read more

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Renowned for its unusual mammals, Australia is a land of birds that are just as unusual, just as striking, a result of the continent's tens of millions of years of isolation. Compared with birds elsewhere, ours are more likely to be intelligent, aggressive and loud, to live in complex societies, and to be large and long-lived... read more

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Disease - specifically infectious disease - is what eventually kills the overwhelming majority of us. In fact, it's amazing that it doesn't get us sooner: we fight off millions of disease-causing germs every day. So how come we're not dead yet? In this lively and accessible book, Idan Ben-Barak tells us why. He explores the i... read more

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From the creator of the wildly popular xkcd.com, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask. Millions visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. Fans ask him a lot of strange questions: How fast can you hit a speed bump, driving, and live? When (if ever) ... read more

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The international bestseller We all worry occasionally that our brains -- particularly our memories -- just don't work as well as they used to. In this groundbreaking book, André Aleman shows that though the decline in our mental capacities begins earlier than we think, this is not such a bad thing. In fact, older peop... read more

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