Books (Featured)

Crossing the Line: Australia’s Secret History in Timor Sea, Kim McGrath

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“Kissingerian realism” and an associated hard nose for the “national interest”, or “Wilsonian idealism”? Robert Murray The Australian Nowhere has this timeless tension in foreign affairs challenged Canberra more than over our nearest neighbour, East Timor. It has made prime ministers from William McMahon to Malcolm Turnbull look mean and tricky, and yet, Kim McGrath suggests in this brisk account of it all, it might be one of those ­issues where the Wilsonian approach would have served the national interest ... Read More »

Reading Norman Davies’s global history is like wading through porridge

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From Azerbaijan to Tahiti, much of the material is familiar — or available (as Davies himself admits) on Wikipedia For many of us, life has become global. Philip Hensher The Spectator Areas which were previously tranquil backwaters are now hives of international activity Leisure travel has given us the possibility of first-hand exposure to once very remote places. You don’t have to be particularly privileged or adventurous to go on holiday in January to south-east Asia: two weeks in a ... Read More »

‘Slow, painful death’ of Yazidi woman’s body and soul while enslaved by the Islamic State

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The Islamic State’s attempt to exterminate the Yazidi people of Iraq did not involve only murder Alia Malek When the militants swept through the north of the country after taking Mosul in the summer of 2014, they executed the religious minority group’s men and elderly women. The Washington Post The children and the other women they took captive. They brainwashed and conscripted the young boys and turned the women and girls into sexual slaves. This enslavement was justified by edicts ... Read More »

Mythos review – the Greek myths get the Stephen Fry treatment

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Fry’s retellings have stiff competition, are limited in selection and sometimes appear to be set in North London Edith Hall But they have real charm The Guardian Ever since William Godwin persuaded Charles Lamb to retell The Odyssey as a novel for younger readers in The Adventures of Ulysses (1808), the myths of ancient Greece have been retold in contemporary prose by every generation. Most of these retellings were originally poetry – the epics of Hesiod, Homer and the philhellene Latin poet Ovid, the ... Read More »

Photos of the New Futuristic Library in China with 1.2 Million Books

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China recently opened a new futuristic library that contains a staggering 1.2 million books Michael Zhang If you enjoy architectural photography, Dutch photographer Ossip van Duivenbode‘s images of the library will be a feast for your eyes. PetaPilexThe new Tianjin Binhai Library in Tianjin, China, was designed by the Dutch architectural firm MVRDV to look like a giant eye. The five-story, 360,000-square-foot library features shelves spanning from the floor to ceiling — many of the shelves double as stairs and seats in the ... Read More »

‘We are not very caring’: Michelle de Kretser on Australian society

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In her new novel The Life to Come, the Miles Franklin-winning author critiques Australia’s character, and the boom that made us bad Brigid Delaney The Guardian Children of Australia’s long boom – who travel the world only to complain about lack of good coffee, who signal virtue by retweeting an asylum seeker story, who couldn’t imagine living in a house with only one bathroom, who are “really into food” – may find Michelle de Kretser’s new book an uncomfortable read. ... Read More »

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee taken off Mississippi school reading list

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<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/3182ded386486b8933feafdc9cbe6aff/content.css”/> Official: ‘some language in the book makes people uncomfortable’ Story of racism in the US south has been removed from schools before Guardian staff and agencies To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s classic novel about racism and the American south, has been removed from a junior-high reading list in a Mississippi school district because the language in the book “makes people… The Sun Herald reported that administrators in Biloxi pulled the novel from the 8th-grade curriculum ... Read More »

10 books about the politics of now: from the left-behinds to reborn radicals

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Brexit Britain, racial strife in the US and a crisis of capitalism: today’s political world is turbulent Read the rest of the Observer’s 100 political books series here All Out War by Tim Shipman (2016) An essential primer for anyone seeking to understand the politics of the Brexit referendum Julian Coman  The Guardian Shipman, the political editor of the Sunday Times, gives a vivid and compelling account of the Westminster gambles, compromises and miscalculations that unleashed social forces that prime minister ... Read More »

Rasmussen scrutinizes not only Hume and Smith’s personal relationship, but also the indispensable part that they played in shaping the Scottish Enlightenment.

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Rasmussen scrutinizes not only Hume and Smith’s personal relationship, but also the indispensable part that they played in shaping the Scottish Enlightenment. Jacob Heilbrunn The National Interest Dennis C. Rasmussen, The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship that Shaped Modern Thought (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017), 336 pp., $29.95. IN AUGUST 1776, a large crowd gathered in front of a grand neoclassical mausoleum. It was designed by Scotland’s greatest architect, Robert Adam, and stood on Calton Hill in ... Read More »

Ruth Davidson ‘is next Margaret Thatcher’, says Jeffrey Archer

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He knows a thing or two about power and ambition, has seen them up close as a friend of Margaret Thatcher’s and captured them in the novel that gave him his literary breakthrough nearly 40 years ago. Paris Gourtsoyannis The Scotsman Jeffrey Archer, who returns to the Edinburgh Festival to mark the 100th edition of Kane And Abel, said he sees Thatcher’s steely determination in another leading woman in the Conservative Party – but it isn’t Theresa May. Archer said ... Read More »

Tasoula Hadjitofi – from refugee to icon hunter

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A refugee’s quest to reclaim her nation’s stolen heritage Tasoula Hadjitofi will discuss her experiences of war and injustice; her ongoing campaign to preserve cultural heritage worldwide and her tireless work to combat art trafficking. In 1974 Tasoula Hadjitofi and her family were forced to flee their home in Famagusta, Cyprus during the Turkish invasion. As a refugee living in the Netherlands, Tasoula devoted her life to infiltrating and exposing the shady underworld of art traffickers. It all began when ... Read More »

A short story based on the death of Savita Halappanavar

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Madame Zero review: Sarah Hall excels in murky territory in this short-story collection Sara Baume The Irish Times A page into the third story of Madame Zero, I started to experience deja vu. The setting of Theatre 6 is a hospital in London; the point of view is second person, and the “you” being addressed is Dr Rosinski, an anaesthetist. It begins with the… A short story… Read More »

“Who Is Rich?” and the Literature of Infidelity

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No human behavior presents a literary problem quite as obviously as an extramarital affair. Sex, love, and illicit instincts are horrendously cliché in the abstract, but they feel—and this is the… Jia Tolentino The New Yorker And so, in a way, affairs and fiction often circle the same question: how we might frame something that is entirely quotidian as a delirious, enveloping, existential… Matthew Klam, the author of the short-story collection “Sam the Cat,” has a… •“Who Is Rich… Read More »

Together, Closer review: Why we are a mystery to ourselves

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Giovanni Frazzetto creates his own art – eight stories that run alongside the latest discoveries of neuroscience, exploring humanity’s relationship with… Martina Evans The Irish Times Together, closer: The Art and Science of Intimacy in Friendship, Love, and Family is an ambitious project. Giovanni Frazzetto marries science with art, the most recent discoveries of neuroscience with… Stories are part of our make-up and… Together, Closer review… Read More »

Watching Out

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reflections on justice and injustice Julian Burnside Praise for Watching Brief‘A fascinating read for anyone who burns with a passion for human decency and an interest in ethics.’ Sunday Telegraph ‘As we look up from the political abyss in these appalling times, Burnside is a glowing light on a distant hill. His writing is lucid, poignant, powerful. He distinguishes between law and justice, urging us to be both compassionate and analytical, collecting evidence, making rational conclusions, acting on them courageously, ... Read More »

Tachjian’s ‘Daily Life in the Abyss: Genocide Diaries, 1915-1918’ Published by Berghahn Books

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NEW YORK—Vahé Tachjian’s book, Daily Life in the Abyss: Genocide Diaries, 1915-1918, was recently published by Berghahn Books. TheArmenianWeekly Tachjian is the project director and the chief editor of the Berlin-based Houshamdyan website, which aims to reconstruct Ottoman Armenians’ local history and life stories. Historical research into the Armenian Genocide has grown tremendously in recent years, but much of it has focused on large… Tachjian’s ‘Daily Life… Read More »