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Seeing the walkman, Salt ‘n’ Pepa and the Australian schoolyard through new eyes

Pop culture has a way of marking a generation. Those who spent their childhood and teen years listening to the same songs by the same bands and choosing the same…

One theme is at home in most of our literature

Readers can travel to far flung places in the pages of a book. They can see life from the lofty perspective of an Olympian or statesman or immerse themselves in a…

We need less news and more literature

We have global news at our finger tips, constant updates on social media and 24-hour services, meaning we can find out what is happening in the world, all day, every…

What do your book choices reveal about you?

How much do you ever really know about your workmates? Perhaps their daily coffee order. Maybe their favourite Netflix series. While we might spend a big chunk of our waking…

The voyeuristic pleasure of reading

As much as we might like to deny it, we are all voyeurs to some degree. Whether it is in the nightly news or reality television, we love to see…

Beware of the book that is impossible to forget

Most readers will have experienced the sense of panic of picking up their holiday read, only to realise a few pages in that the book is very familiar. It is a sad…

Books as gifts – to buy or not to buy?

There is a tradition in Iceland of giving loved ones the gift of a book on Christmas Eve. Closer to home, as we frantically hit the shops to find that…

Please don’t tell me reading is a waste of time

Conversation at polite dinner parties is constrained by an implicit set of rules. No talking religion, no talking politics and no talking sex. In the future, I might have to strike another category…

Don’t judge a book by its cover, but by its reader

It is easy for a reader to deliver a damning verdict on a book. Whether it is a debut novel or the masterpiece of a genius, the dismissal can be equally swift…

There’s no cure for the post-book blues

In the age of Skype, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook, it is rare enough to disconnect from friends for an hour, let alone lose a friend for good. But letting go…

Do men and women read differently?

Children’s toys are famously gendered. On the shelves of a toy shop, dolls might stare across the aisle at the army figurines, but never the twain shall meet. And as…

The arts can be an everyday reality

Reality television should come with a warning like that on cigarette packs, such is its addictiveness. Perhaps, then, I would have been aware of what I was getting myself into…

What makes a book ‘good’?

The idea of a book being good or bad is enough to send many book lovers into a flurry of indignation. All books, they might say with fierceness and finality,…

Uniting the generations is not just a fairytale

Children’s literature doesn't always treat the elderly well. Fairytales often depict the elderly as wicked or weak, from the evil witch in Hansel and Gretel to Red Riding Hood’s helpless,…

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