Words & Ideas

'I need a wife' It's a common joke among women juggling work and family. But it's not actually a joke. Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a Godsend on the domestic front. It's a potent economic asset on the work fr... read more

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Mark Forsyth - author of the Sunday Times Number One bestseller The Etymologicon - reveals in this essay, specially commissioned for Independent Booksellers Week, the most valuable ... read more

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The eternal question 'Who am I?' must be weighed against an even deeper question: 'Who are we?' We are writing each other's stories as much as we are writing our own. In his bestselling book, The Good Life, Hugh Mackay argued th... read more

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Here, distinguished neurologist Allan Ropper reveals the stories behind some of the extraordinary and often frightening brain conditions that he and his staff at the Harvard Medical School try - and sometimes fail - to diagnose and treat.

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Should you finish every book you start?
How has your family influenced the way you read?
What is literary style?
How is the Nobel Prize like the Wo... read more

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Author: Alexander McCall Smith


Series:Writers on Writers

When facing a moral dilemma, Isabel Dalhousie - Edinburgh philosopher, amateur detective, and title character of a series of novels by best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith - often refers to the great twentieth-century... read more

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From the author of the novels Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, here is an essential series of dispatches from the East, the West and the In Between. Divided into sect... read more

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'Missing a young girl, Dora Bruder, 15, height 1.55m, oval-shaped face, grey-brown eyes, grey sports jacket, maroon pullover, navy blue skirt and hat, brown gym shoes. All information to M. and Mme Bruder, 41 Boulevard Ornano, Pa... read more

Winner Nobel Prize for Literature 2014

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How did everything get so dumb? How did we become hostages to idiocy? What must we do to be freed from a captor whose ransom note simply reads, 'D'oh'? The deteriorating quality of our public debate and the dwindling of commo... read more

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Alain de Botton explores our relationship with 'the news' in this book full of his trademark wit and wisdom. Following on from his bestselling Religion for Atheists, Alain de Botton turns now to look at the manic and peculiar ... read more

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The David Foster Wallace Reader is a selection of David Foster Wallace's work, introducing readers to his humour, kindness, sweeping intellect and versatility as a writer. A compilation from the one of the most origina... read more

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In this controversial book, Andrew Keen argues that the Internet has had a disastrous impact on all out lives - and outlines what we must do to change it, before it's too late.

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A powerful, bold true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix America's broken system of justice - from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time. The U... read more

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A central bond, a cherished value, a unique relationship, a profound human need, a type of love. What is the nature of friendship, and what is its significance in our lives? How has friendship changed since the ancient Greeks began to ... read more

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After the publication of his novel Slaughterhouse-Five (Delacorte, 1959) brought him worldwide acclaim in 1969, Kurt Vonnegut became one of America's most popular graduation speakers. There were years whe... read more

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Over the next two years, Australians will decide if and how Aboriginal people will be recognised in the Constitution. Professor Greg Craven writes: 'We have a committed Prime Minister, and a committed opposition. We have a receptive electorate. There will never be a better time. We have no choice but to address the question.

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Who else, but a writer, is really able to interrogate the work of other writers? From Christina Stead, Les Murray and Patrick White to Proust, Shakespeare and Charlotte Bronte, David Malouf reads and examines the work of writers who h... read more

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Why do we react so strongly to certain places? Why do layers of mythology build up around particular features in the landscape? When Philip Marsden moved to a remote creekside farmhouse in Cornwall, the inte... read more

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Disease - specifically infectious disease - is what eventually kills the overwhelming majority of us. In fact, it's amazing that it doesn't get us sooner: we fight off millions of disease-causin... read more

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There's matters of fairness, of manners, of pleasures, of observation. Based on his weekly columns for The Australian that have been published for more than a decade they are stories powerfully told. His writing style is ligh... read more

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