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Forget neutral, my bookcase is going to be big, full and messy

The interior design idea was offered up innocently enough.  “Lauren keeps the look neutral by stacking books back to front.” The Twittersphere responded with a tsunami of ridicule and scorn…

Do you like the same books as me? Talking books with kindred spirits

It is usually the bookshelf that gives it away. That was how I often discover that a new friend is not just good company, but also a bookish kindred spirit.…

My New Year’s resolution is to make more conscious book choices

In the past I have always taken a scatter gun approach to choosing books, picking up one at a second-hand stores, another at a Sunday market, and finding many on…

The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

It is not hard to see why W.Somerset Maughan wrote The Painted Veil after he was inspired by a fascinating story he read while on vacation as a student. According…

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…

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