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Words & Ideas > Essays

A book in which insiders assess the performance and political influence of the Australian media. It offers a critique of its strengths and weaknesses, and is not afraid to point the finger. Contributors include David Marr, Robert Manne, Wendy Bacon, Julia Baird, Jon Faine and Eric Beecher.

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A provocative collection of essays, Louis Nowra displays his curiosity, eccentricity and fascination with the weird and the monstrous. His subjects range from porn star Christy Canyon to the grand ambitions of Russian mafiosi and Australian business entrepeneurs.

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Guilt is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand how events of the past can affect a nation's future. Written in Bernhard Schlink's eloquent but accessible style, it taps in to worldwide interest in the aftermath of war and how to forgive and reconcile the various legacies of the past.

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'The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.' This fragment of Archilochus, which gives this book its title, describes the central thesis of Isaiah Berlin's masterly essay on Tolstoy. There have been various interpretations of Archilochus' fragment; Isaiah Berlin has simply used it, without implying anyth... read more

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Author:John Freeman
Series:Granta: The Magazine of New Writing

"Granta 109" will showcase the most exciting new voices writing from around the world as they confront the most powerful stories and will feature outstanding new fiction, reportage, memoir and photography. Plus: look out for candid interviews, exclusive podcasts, brand-new interactive features which allow readers to comment o... read more

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Playful and provocative, irreverent and inspiring, Capek is perhaps the best-loved Czech writer of all time. Novelist and playwright, famed for inventing the word 'robot' in his play "RUR", Capek was a vital part of the burgeoning artistic scene of Czechoslovakia of the 1920s and 30s. But it is in his journalism - his brief, ... read more

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In "At Large and At Small", Anne Fadiman returns to one of her favourite genres, the familiar essay - a beloved and hallowed literary tradition recognized for both its intellectual breadth and its miniaturist focus on everyday experiences. With her wonderful combination of wit and erudition, Fadiman draws us into twelve of he... read more

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Peter Ruehl's humorous columns on life, family and politics have been one of the Australian Financial Review's most beloved and prominent features for more than two decades. His irreverent wit and ability to puncture pretentiousness with a well-turned phrase gave thousands of dedicated readers a good reason to read the paper ... read more

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Author:Geraldine Brooks
Series:Boyer Lectures

For the Boyer Lecture 2011, best-selling author and journalist Geraldine Brooks tackles the topic of The Idea of Home. Drawing on her personal experience from being an adolescent pen pal to being a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most dangerous countries to being a writer of several award winning books including ... read more

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Celebrated as one of the most poignant stylists of his generation, Andre Aciman has written a luminous series of linked essays about time, place, identity, and art that show him at his very finest. From beautiful and moving pieces about the memory evoked by the scent of lavender; to meditations on cities like Barcelona, Rome,... read more

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"Inventing the Enemy" covers a wide range of topics on which Umberto Eco has written and lectured over the last ten years, from the discussion of ideas that have inspired his earlier novels - exploring lost islands, mythical realms, and the medieval world in the process - to a disquisition on the theme that runs through his m... read more

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In The Best Australian Essays 2012, Ramona Koval puts together a wide-ranging collection of the year's most thought-provoking non-fiction pieces. Some are life-altering and full of insight, some dazzle and challenge, but all are memorable and will provide conversation fodder for many years. Previous contributors include Helen... read more

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In "The Story of America", Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore investigates American origin stories - from John Smith's account of the founding of Jamestown in 1607 to Barack Obama's 2009 inaugural address - to show how American democracy is bound up with the history of print. Over the centuries, America... read more

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With an election looming and criticism of the ALP now a national pastime, Mark Latham considers the future for Labor. The nation has changed, but can the party? With wit and insight, Latham reveals an organisation top-heavy with factional bosses protecting their turf. At the same time Labor's traditional working-class base ha... read more

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The breakout book from "the funniest writer in America"--not to mention an official "Genius"--his first nonfiction collection ever. George Saunders's first foray into nonfiction is comprised of essays on literature, travel, and politics. At the core of this unique collection are Saunders's travel essays based on his trips to... read more

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Published when he was thirty-three, "The Broken Estate" is the first book of essays by the man who would become one of America's most esteemed literary critics. Ranging in subject from Jane Austen to John Updike, this collection introduced American readers to a new kind of humanist criticism. Wood is committed to judging lite... read more

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Of all the trademarks of Venice - and there are many, from the gilded Basilica of San Marco to the melancholy Bridge of Sighs - none is more ubiquitous than the gondola. In Gondola, the internationally acclaimed 'American with the Venetian heart', Donna Leon, tells its fascinating story. First used in medieval Venice as a def... read more

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The Cushion in the Road is a collection of wide-ranging meditations on the human race's intertwined personal, spiritual and political destinies. It revisits the many themes that the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, poet, essayist and activist has addressed throughout her career: racism, Africa, solidarity with the Palestinian... read more

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