Tag: books

Syria: We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know

Former Middle East correspondent, Sophie McNeill, appeared on a recent Late Night Live to talk about her new book, We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know. McNeill despairs at the world’s mute response to the atrocities committed in Syria and that we seem to be living in an age of impunity for those who wage war.

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My Marxist Philosophy Class

In 1998 I started an eight-week evening college course, Introduction to Philosophy. I was in my mid-thirties and was aware of philosophers, of course. But I hadn’t read their works and knew nothing about critical thinking. Our text was Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder. And our tutor was a Marxist.

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Homage to Technical Books

In these heady days of Google, Wikis, forums, YouTube and social media, it’s hard to believe technical books once sat on the desks of computer programmers. But old-timers, like me, recall when having a reference book at hand was invaluable for learning a language, solving a problem and keeping your job.

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Tim Winton Wows Again

My first Tim Winton was Cloudstreet, bought in 1992, just after he’d won his second Miles Franklin Award. I’ve since added ten more Wintons to my bookcase. I enjoyed reading each book, but, for me, none had the wow impact of Cloudstreet. And then I read Winton’s latest novel, The Shepherd’s Hut. Wow!

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The Intrepid Dervla Murphy

In A Book of Travellers’ Tales (Picador 1985) Eric Newby describes Dervla Murphy as: “Intrepid Irish traveller, mostly in Asia and Ethiopia, on bicycles or with quadrupeds, or local transport.” Her tale is titled: “A lone female cyclist deals with a randy Kurd on the Turkish-Iranian frontier, 1963.”

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The Man Behind The Woman in the Window

I am a sucker for a good book cover. So, while I hadn’t registered the hype about A. J. Finn’s debut novel, The Woman in the Window, it had caught my eye in bookshops. And as I am also a fan of Jimmy Stewart’s Alfred Hitchcock movies, I was intrigued by its homage to the 1954 classic, Rear Window.

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My Year of Books (2018)

It’s my habit to read in bed and usually, after ten to fifteen minutes of reading, my eyes get a little tired and sometimes I wake to find the book resting on my face. It can take me a long time to read a book from cover to cover. So I was surprised by the size of my “year of books” pile for 2018.

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Book Inscriptions

Inscriptions aren’t meant to state lofty goals. They’re a snapshot in time and place, and a record of the emotions felt by the writer towards the recipient. And even if we don’t know the individuals, with a little imagination, we can reconstruct the story behind the words and names on the page.

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Bedtime Stories and Teenage Readers

My son was born at 5:36 am on the 2 June 2002. It had been a long night, and it was a long day (admittedly, more so for my wife!), and when I went home from the hospital that evening, it was with the surreal realisation I was now a dad. I decided my first dad-duty would be to buy a book of bedtime stories.

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