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Reading is often thought of as an activity best practised in silent surroundings. But as world-famous American photographer STEVE McCURRY proves in this photo essay, On Reading, good writing can transport us from the tumult and distractions of our physical environment into other realms of fascination and delight.
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Archive Discoveries

  • The BBC released a survey earlier this year in which they asked readers to name the books they had lied about having read. You can see the list below. I think I have read around half, as some I may have read in my youth that I’ve forgotten about (more about that later). How many of them have you read? The truth, please! Read on >
  • It’s 100 years since
 Roald Dahl’s birth on 13 September 1916. For many years now, 13 September has been celebrated as Roald Dahl Day.  I love all of Roald Dahl’s books. I love the naughty antics his characters get up to in so many of his stories. I love reading about the fascinating life he led – especially his wartime flying exploits – and I really loved how he made the nasty grandmother in George’s Marvellous Medicine just go ‘pop’ and disappear. I think we all have someone in our life we’d like that to happen to occasionally. If you are yet to read his memoirs – Boy and Going Solo – I can’t recommend them highly enough. Read on >
  • It’s often said that whatever happens in our childhoods resonates throughout the rest of our lives – for good or for ill. This was certainly the case for TIM ELLIOTT, who grew up with a father who suffered from bipolar disorder. TIM GRAHAM spoke to him about the lingering effects of a tumultuous childhood and his memoir ofpaternal madness, Farewell to the Father. Read on >
  • I switched on to watch ABC TV’s The Drum one evening and discovered Jodi Picoult sitting on the panel discussion.What a great performer she is – not only an impressive writer but also an impressive speaker.The discussion at the table was raging around whether a white author has the right, or could even have the understanding, to write about black characters. As a white woman, how could she really know what’s it’s like to be a black woman, let alone a black man? How could she write black characters and make them authentic without knowing how they feel? Read on >
  • Stretching across generations and set on the Atherton Tablelands where she lives, the latest novel from prolific Australian author BARBARA HANNAY is a saga of loss, love, secrets and salvation. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN 
about her writing life, and how The Grazier's Wife evolved.   Read on >
  • FIONA CAPP is the internationally published, award-winning author of three works of non-fiction, including her memoir That Oceanic Feeling – which won the Kibble Award – and five novels, including Gotland, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Queensland Literary Awards. Fiona lives in Melbourne and works as a freelance writer and reviewer. Her latest novel, To Know My Crime, is a story of blackmail, risk, corruption, guilt and consequences set on the Mornington Peninsula. We asked Fiona to tell us about the books that have shaped her view of the world. Read on >
  • The exact percentage of people with dyslexia is unknown, but it’s estimated at between 5 and 17 per cent of the population. And many people may not even be aware that they have the condition. There’s no cure for it, but now there’s a new way to help people overcome dyslexia – and it’s as simple as using a new font. Read on >
  • JIM OBERGEFELL led a class action in the US Supreme Court that established marriage equality nationwide for Americans. Love Wins, co-written with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist DEBBIE CENZIPER, is the story of the love that inspired the fight for justice. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • Australian novelist NICOLA MORIARTY is the youngest of six siblings, two of whom – Jacyln and Liane – are also accomplished novelists. Her latest novel, The Fifth Letter, examines the relationships of a group of friends after a letter-writing dare uncovers a festering cache of secrets andr esentment. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • This book might have the word ‘tax’ in its title, but don’t let that dreary term fool you. The Great Multinational Tax Rort tells the intriguing tale of how, for decades, multinational corporations have been slithering out of their obligations to pay their fair share of tax, leaving governments with shrinking funds to pay for essential services for their citizens. In this extract, MARTIN FEIL, also the author of The Failure of Free-Market Economics, outlines some of the techniques these business behemoths use to cunningly avoid paying tax – leaving us all the poorer. Read on >
  • A young woman named edie channels the dead through her work with the shady Elysian Society in a dytopian first novel from SARA FLANNERY MURPHY. The Oklahoma-based author tells EMMA STUBLEY about her encounters with ghosts and Greek mythology and how they influened The Possessions. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence by Alyssa Palombo I enjoyed this novel tremendously. An enjoyable journey to another time and place, it’s witty, detailed and well researched. Read on >

  • Bloodlines by Nicole Sinclair What constitutes a family? This novel, by an author who has lived on one of Papua New Guinea’s islands and who now calls Western Australia home, explores the different combinations of people that are family. Read on >

  • The House at Bishopsgate by Katie Hickman The descriptions of 17th-century life were rich with detail, which also meant that careful reading was required, a commitment that detracted from the experience. But lovers of historical fiction will no doubt very much enjoy this tale of love lost and found, scheming and duplicitous relations and the return of a prodigal son. Read on >

  • Congo Dawn by Katherine Scholes It’s a ripping yarn based on hideous historical events in the Congo, which even now is not at peace. Read on >

  • Congo Dawn by Cory Doctorow This is an intricate and engaging novel of a plausible near future that may prove to be more true to life than we wish it to be. Read on >

  • American War by Omar El Akkad The prologue forewarns the reader: ‘This isn’t a story about war. It’s about ruin.’ Sarat’s involvement with the war does not glorify bloodshed and it doesn’t endorse facile categorisations of good and bad. But it clearly reveals the senseless destruction of war. Read on >

  • The River Sings by Sandra Leigh Price Price weaves a magical tale that is rich in history and atmosphere that will sing to your traveller’s soul. Read on >

  • Her Mother's Secret by Natasha Lester Lester’s research for Her Mother’s Secret included walking the New York streets inhabited by her characters and examining original documents from the era. As a result, the vivid detail of the narrative has the ring of authenticity and is utterly compelling. Read on >

  • The Baltimore Boys by Joel Dicker Mystery, drama and unrequited love reluctantly give way to violence, revenge and betrayal. We are voyeurs lulled into a false sense of contentment, only to experience despair and anguish soon after. The Baltimore Boys is a saga that will, I suspect, be the basis of a smash-hit television series. Read on >

  • The Burning Ground by Adam O’Riordan All the stories make for a strong collection, but some of them inevitably stand up to scrutiny better than others; the first three stories are the strongest. On the whole, this is a powerful debut that shows perceptiveness and an engaging insight into human nature. Read on >

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