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You can tell a lot about a person by their hair. Once an indicator of power and wealth, now an expression of self and individuality, the meaning and use of hair has evolved drastically throughout the centuries. Many of history’s literary greats have sported impressive facial hair (and some not so impressive, see George Orwell’s moustache). From curly characters and furry friends to a princess whose long locks double as a ladder, literature is full of tangled tales and hairy situations. Tear your hair out as you try to find the answers to this month’s quiz.

Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • Communicating the most exciting new developments in science to non-scientific readers can be a challenge. But Know This: Today’s most interesting and important scientific ideas, discoveries, and developments, takes up the challenge and lets dozens of eminent scientists tell us what they think are the most interesting recent developments in science. Here are two extracts from the book. Read on >
  • For many of the families of servicemen killed in World War I, a terse telegram from the government was never going to be enough to assuage their grief. Families wrote back in their thousands, seeking more information about the fate of their loved ones. It was the task of James M Lean to reply to these families and, as author CAROL ROSENHAIN outlines in The Man Who Carried the Nation’s Grief, he did so with extraordinary empathy and sensitivity. Read on >
  • RICHARD ROXBURGH has been extraordinarily versatile over the
decades of his acting career. The Albury-born actor has played both Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, appeared as Count Dracula in the 2004 movie Van Helsing and played the lead role in Rake, a TV show he co-created. But he’s just as talented
on the page as he is on screen and stage; Roxburgh has written and illustrated a new kids’ book, Artie and the Grime Wave. We asked him about his influences and what lead him to this new project. Read on >
  • Best known to TV audiences as Goliath fromthequiz show The Chase, MATT PARKINSON was also one half of the Empty Pockets comedy duo. He cleaned up as a champion on Sale of the Century in the 1990s and since then he has served as the brains trust on ABC TV’s The Einstein Factor. We asked this big man (he’s nearly two metres tall) with a big brain about the books that have made him the brainiac that he is.  Read on >
  • If you set out to write a thriller, you’re going to have to do some research. And while your story will be fiction, you’ll probably uncover more than a few fascinating real-world facts, as Australian thriller author L A LARKIN discovered while researching for her latest novel, Devour. Read on >
  • Lynda La Plante changed the face of crime fiction and television with Prime Suspect and its stoic lead character, DCI Jane Tennison. Her new series details how Tennison cut her teeth on London’s crime-ridden, gang-ruled streets in the 80s. We asked the queen of crime 10 questions ahead of her new book release, Hidden Killers. 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 >
  • Australian historical novelist Pamela Hart tells us about her latest novel, A Letter From Italy, and Australia's first female war correspondent.  Read on >
  • A Melbourne woman proud of her 7000-year-old Persian heritage shines a light on family violence in a memoir covering three generations. SOHILA ZANJANI, author of Scattered Pearls, speaks with JENNIFER SOMERVILLE. Read on >
  • The changing moral code and shift in gender roes of World War II provide the backdrop for JENNIFER RYAN's debut novel The Chilbury Ladies' Choir. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN about the people and events that inspired the story. Read on >
  • For many of us, the streets of London or New York are more familiar
than the towns and settlements of the remote north and centre of our own country. But non-Indigenous artist and writer KIM MAHOOD, who spent many years of her childhood on a cattle station amid Indigenous lands, knows these parts of Australia well. In her new book, Position Doubtful, she recounts
 her frequent journeys from her home in Wamboin, near Canberra, back to Indigenous communities in NT and WA. We caught up with Kim in Alice Springs just as she was preparing to head out on a 1000 km road trip. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Chinonso, a poor Nigerian poultry farmer, sees a woman ready to jump off a bridge into the river. He begs her not to, but when she resists him, he rushes two of his prized birds from his car, and throws them in to the river. As they struggle and sink, his sacrifice changes her mind. I cannot do justice in words to the depth of wisdom and mythical imagery Obioma constructs in this Booker-shortlisted novel. Read on >

  • In 1830, Washington Black is an 11-year-old slave on a plantation in Barbados; he is fated to live out his life in misery and torment, his value that of his sweat in the sugarcane fields. But all that changes when he is selected by the brother of the plantation owner, the eccentric and sensitive Titch, who needs a young man of Washington’s weight and temperament to assist him with his scientific observations and experiments surrounding his pursuit of the perfect aerial machine. Washington Black was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and is a fine novel, for all it is missing is that spark of greatness. Read on >

  • We Must Be Brave is a story of the many different kinds of love, loyalty and devotion, and how our experiences in life make us who we are, particularly in times of unspeakable horror. Read on >

  • It’s not often you get a story told from the perspective of a dog and, more remarkably, a dog that lives in a refugee camp. Yet Mutt’s narrative is possibly one of the less unusual aspects of Mohammed Hanif ’s Red Birds, which combines observations about US foreign policy with the lived experiences of those caught up in its international power struggles. Read on >

  • In for a Pound is set in a world of the ’70s drug scene in Sydney, Darwin and South East Asia’s Golden Triangle, where local drug dealers have kidnapped and are holding Sam Leach’s close friend. Sam’s difficult upbringing, with a father who was a gangster, has led her into becoming a drug dealer, with associates smuggling drugs in from Burma. It’s a dangerous endeavor but it earns her a lot of fast money. Read on >

  • This is a fine, entertaining novel, where the characters keep pace with the tumultuous growth of the century. It is worth reading for the Costume Ball alone; it’s a fine lesson in how to get what you want. Read on >

  • The Children’s House is a rather slow-moving novel, but the writing is lovely. It is the story of family and the connections that we make along the way, that make a difference to us whether we realise it at the time or not. And it is a story of the fierce love we can feel for a small child that is not out own, but that we desperately wish to offer a better life. Read on >

  • This is such a fun book. The repetition is delightful and the beautiful soft illustrations will speak to us all. I can imagine the little children listening to this story and joining in with their chick chick, moo moo and squark squark (that’s the cocky wanting more chocolate) and all the other wonderful noises that farm animals make. Try it on your littlies at home. Read on >

  • This is one of those delightful little books that young children fall in love with. Written in rhyme and illustrated in such a beautiful old-fashioned way, it features the five most gorgeous French mice who love fashion and food and hopefully will be clever enough to help Queen Julie out of her dilemma. Read on >

  • Rosie and George live together. George makes breakfast for Rosie every morning and then they go for a walk. Rosie loves walking as sometimes she’s a little lonely at home and she loves chasing squirrels even though she never catches them.This celebrated author, Kate DiCamillo, has told this story perfectly, and Harry Bliss’s incredibly life-like illustrations speak to us, adding the small but important details that we might miss if we don’t take the time to linger on every page. Read on >

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The Good People