Books

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Mothers anonymous: How children's books have written mum out of the story

<p>Here’s an interesting fact. When it comes to children’s books, the word “mother” is the most frequent noun used to refer to female characters – and has been since the 19th century. But despite this, mothers are rarely the heroes or protagonists in children’s fiction – often, they don’t even have a name. They are part of the supporting cast – and sometimes they are even dead or otherwise absent. When it comes to what their children are reading, mums are usually barely visible.</p> <p>We’ve been studying <a href="https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/edacs/departments/englishlanguage/research/projects/glare/index.aspx">gender in children’s literature</a> by analysing the frequency of words like “mother” in collections from Beatrix Potter to modern children’s books. We compared <a href="https://clic.bham.ac.uk/">19th century children’s books</a> with <a href="https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/childrens/dictionaries-you-can-trust">contemporary children’s fiction</a> which has helped us understand how repeated language patterns reflect a gendered view of society.</p> <p>What is striking in both the 19th century and contemporary data, is the inequality of gender representations. When we looked at word pairs such as “he” and “she”, or “man” and “woman” the scale of the imbalance becomes clear – in the 19th-century data “he” is more than twice as frequent as “she”, while in the contemporary fiction, “he” is still 1.8 times more frequent than “she”. Meanwhile “man” appears in the 19th-century collection 4.5 times more frequently than “woman” and in the contemporary data it is 2.8 times more common.</p> <p><strong>A mother’s place</strong></p> <p>The range of occupations for men and women is also particularly revealing. In the 19th-century data set, as you’d expect, occupations and roles for women in society were extremely limited. Women could be queens, princesses, nurses, maids, nannies or governesses – but there were not many other options.</p> <p>While there may be fewer nurses, maids, nannies and governesses in the contemporary data, we still find queens and princesses. But even now, the wide range of occupations that is theoretically open to women – doctor, driver, servant, professor, officer, spy, boss, judge, farmer, pilot, scientist, minister to name just some of the frequent ones – is mostly occupied by men in children’s books.</p> <p>It’s yet another example of what writer and activist <a href="https://guardianbookshop.com/invisible-women-9781784741723.html">Caroline Criado Perez describes</a> as the “gender data gap”, when she uncovers the invisible bias in a world designed for men. So fiction and the real world look pretty similar.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/266595/original/file-20190329-71003-mklqn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/266595/original/file-20190329-71003-mklqn.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <em><span class="caption">A comparison of the frequency of mentions of different types of women in 19th-century and modern children’s books.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Michaela Mahlberg/Anna Cermakova, University of Birmingham</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></em></p> <p>Against the background of the otherwise skewed gender representation, this makes mothers even more prominent. Mothers do not only occur frequently, they are also found across a large number of texts. Mothers feature in most of the children’s books that we studied. A comparison with other typical female characters in children’s books – witch and queen – also highlights the importance of mothers.</p> <p><strong>Good mum, bad mum</strong></p> <p>But the story is not often actually about the mothers. They are defined by being somebody’s mother: “Martha’s mother sent me a skipping-rope. I skip and run,” wrote Frances Hodgson Burnett in her 1911 classic, <em>The Secret Garden</em>.</p> <p>The role of mothers is primarily to look after their children. “I got nine GCSEs and am well-known for my literacy skills enforced by Mum,” wrote 16-year-old Rachel Riley in her diary in Joanna Nadin’s 2009 novel, <em>Back to Life</em>.</p> <p>Sometimes their rules cause anger or frustration in the child protagonists. “Request denied by Mum on ‘because I say so’ grounds,” Rachel reports in <em>My Double Life</em> (2009), another book in the same series. But mothers are always there to support their children as 14-year-old Maya’s Mum demonstrates in Tim Bowler’s 2011 psychological thriller <em>Buried Thunder</em> after Maya makes a horrific discovery.</p> <blockquote> <p>Maya went on crying. ‘OK’, said Mum. ‘It’s OK’.<br />‘It’s not OK’ said Maya. ‘I’m being horrible’.<br />‘You’re not being horrible’, said Mum.</p> </blockquote> <p>And, as you might expect, they are often the person for their children to confide in as Jade admits in Julia Clarke’s 2009 novel <em>Between You and Me</em>. “Normally I tell Mum what is happening in my life. But I can’t tell her about Jack and the failed kiss or the shock of seeing him and Sybil together.”</p> <p>Mothers might not typically be the main character in the story, but their presence matters. In Rhiannon Lassiter’s Bad Blood (2007) John’s mother has died and his father has remarried. But she is a constant presence in the back of his mind. “He remembered his mother’s smell, like apples and soap; the way she’d hug him goodnight, wrapping her arms around him so that they were locked together in the hug. They were small memories but they were all his.”</p> <p>So, while mothers might often only appear in the background, without them the story would certainly not be complete. In reality, of course, mothers play numerous, varied and important roles in the narratives of their children’s lives. And they are of course, not only mums. Something to remember.</p> <p><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><em>Written by <span>Michaela Mahlberg, Professor of Corpus Linguistics, University of Birmingham and Anna Cermakova, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow, Centre for Corpus Research, University of Birmingham</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/mothers-anonymous-how-childrens-books-have-written-mum-out-of-the-story-114519"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/114519/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p>

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4 books on grieving you need to read

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Losing a loved one is never easy, but it can be comforting to share the feeling with other people in similar pain. Books on grieving can offer solace and help you navigate through your experience. Here are four of the most popular suggested reads for dealing with loss and grief.</span></p> <p><strong>1. <em>The Year of Magical Thinking</em> by Joan Didion</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The classic memoir tells the account of Didion’s year after the sudden death of her husband, writer John Gregory Dunne. Didion’s cold, precise way of making sense of her mourning process and how bereavements cloud her memories and perception have been praised as a difficult yet cathartic read.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Excerpt: “Grief, when it comes, is nothing like we expect it to be. … Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life.”</span></p> <p><strong>2. <em>Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss</em> by Hope Edelman</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">First published over twenty years ago, the core wisdom from this self-help book still rings true today. Edelman built the book on her own experience as well as interviews with hundreds of women who also had lost their mothers. She dissected how a daughter’s sense of self and perception of those around her can be transformed in the face of difficulties brought about by the absence of a mother figure, all in an honest, personal lens.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Excerpt: “Someone did us all a grave injustice by implying that mourning has a distinct beginning, middle, and end.”</span></p> <p><strong>3. <em>When Breath Becomes Air</em> by Paul Kalanithi</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The autobiography was posthumously published less than a year after the death of its author, neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi. After he was diagnosed with inoperable, metastatic lung cancer, Kalanithi worked on the book to ponder about his place in the world as a medical professional in training, a patient, a husband and a father, as well as about what makes life truly worth living. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Excerpt: “Before my cancer was diagnosed, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. After the diagnosis, I knew that someday I would die, but I didn’t know when. But now I knew it acutely. The problem wasn’t really a scientific one. The fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live.”</span></p> <p><strong>4. <em>I’m Grieving as Fast as I Can</em> by Linda Feinberg</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This guide was written by a grief therapist with years of experience counselling thousands of people in bereavement. Using real stories, she explained how a grief journey can be simultaneously unique to each individual and universal in the emotions and situations that it produced. She also offered advice on practical issues following the death of a loved one, including returning to work, finding support network and dealing with depression and anxiety.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Excerpt: “I cannot live the rest of my life without my husband. But I can live without him for one day.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Do you have any recommendations when it comes to grieving? Let us know in the comments below.</span></p>

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The only ways you should be using a semicolon

<p>A semicolon, the hybrid between a colon and a comma, is often considered one of the more pompous punctuation marks.<br /><br />In reality, it gets a bad rap just because few people know how and when to use it.<br /><br />The semicolon is used to indicate a pause, usually between two main clauses, that needs to be more pronounced than the pause of a comma.<br /><br />So what are the practical ways to implement this little grammatical workhorse?<br /><br />Read on to see how it can help you merge connected thoughts, separate listed items clearly, and form a bridge to another sentence.</p> <div class="view view-article-slider view-id-article_slider view-display-id-article_slider_block view-dom-id-6bf7c0c1a8ea5882f1134b90914e692a"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>Why use a semicolon?</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>In the classic grammar and style manual <em>The Elements of Style</em> by William Strunk and E.B. White (first published in 1919), the case for the semicolon is laid out clearly: “If two or more clauses, grammatically complete and not joined by a conjunction, are to form a single compound sentence, the proper mark of punctuation is a semicolon.”</p> <p>In simpler terms, that means you can use a semicolon to separate two complete sentences that are related but not directly linked by a connecting word like “but” or “so.”</p> <p>For example: “She didn’t show up to work today; she said she had a headache.”</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>Who uses semicolons?</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>The short answer: copy editors, professional writers, and you - if you’re savvy.</p> <p>“If words are the flesh and muscle of writing, then punctuation is the breath, and a good writer will make good use of it,” says Benjamin Dreyer of Penguin Random House, author of the forthcoming book Dreyer’s English.</p> <p>The semicolon is one of his favorite pieces of punctuation, and it was one of America’s great authors, Shirley Jackson, who inspired the admiration.</p> <p>“Shirley Jackson loved her semicolons,” says Dreyer.</p> <p>“I think that’s all the defense they need."</p> <p>"The first paragraph of The Haunting of Hill House - one of the great opening paragraphs I can think of - includes three of them.”</p> <p>Here is Jackson’s sublime first paragraph: “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against the hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>Why use a semicolon instead of a comma?</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>According to Dreyer, “independent sentences don’t hang together well with commas, unless they’re as terse as ‘He came, he saw, he conquered,'” he explains.</p> <p>“For anything of greater length, a semicolon is simply better, stronger glue than a comma, while a period is too divisive.”</p> <p>It’s also grammatically incorrect to link two complete sentences using a comma; a semicolon acknowledges that they’re two complete sentences, even if they are related.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>How to use a semicolon</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>It helps to think of a semicolon as sort of a soft period.</p> <p>“Semicolons provide the right link between two essentially independent thoughts that one wants to present as just shy of independence,” explains Dreyer.</p> <p>According to <em>yourdictionary.com</em>, “[The semicolon] shows a closer relationship between the clauses than a period would show.”</p> <p>Here’s an example: David was getting hungry; he suddenly regretted skipping breakfast.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>How to use a semicolon in a list</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>In lists, we generally use commas to separate the items.</p> <p>For example, at the market, I’ll be picking up yogurt, blueberries, and coffee.</p> <p>However, sometimes there are lists that contain commas, so it gets confusing unless you separate those items using semicolons.</p> <p>For example, at the market, I’ll be picking up yogurt, which I know needs to be organic; blueberries, because they’re in season and on sale; and coffee, so Daddy will actually be able to wake up in the morning.</p> <p>Semicolons keep the items in the list neatly contained, so your meaning is always clear.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>How to use a semicolon before a transition</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Use a semicolon to merge two sentences after a transitional phrase such as “however” and “as a result.”</p> <p>You probably already know to use a comma after the transitional phrase (“However, I still got the discount”), but you may not know that you can use a semicolon before the transitional phrase to form a bridge to the previous sentence (“The sale was officially starting on Saturday; however, I still got the discount on Friday because I had a special code”).</p> <p>You could technically use a period in that instance, but a semicolon signals that the thoughts are connected.</p> <p>Other examples: Everyone knows he deserves a raise; of course, he won’t get one with the current budget cuts. Her email is blowing up; for example, she got 50 messages in the last 10 minutes alone.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>When not to use a semicolon</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>When you have a conjunction - a connecting word such as “but,” “and,” or “so” - a semicolon is unnecessary.</p> <p>In those cases, the correct punctuation mark is a comma.</p> <p>So it would be incorrect to write “Judy jogged on the pavement; but it wasn’t good for her knees.”</p> <p>The correct version, using a comma, would be “Judy jogged on the pavement, but it wasn’t good for her knees.”</p> <p>Of course, if you got rid of the “but,” a semicolon would be appropriate: “Judy jogged on the pavement; it wasn’t good for her knees.”</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Rachel Aydt</span>. This article first appeared in </em><span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/history/only-ways-you-should-be-using-semicolon"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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Michelle Obama shares "one of the best texts" she has ever received

<p>Michelle Obama has revealed the touching message she received from her older brother in response to her memoir.</p> <p>The former First Lady is currently on tour to promote her book <em>Becoming</em>, which is on course to becoming the world’s most popular autobiography with more than 10 million copies sold, according to its publisher Bertelsmann.</p> <p>During the European leg of her book tour, the 55-year-old received a text from her brother, basketball coach Craig Robinson.</p> <p>“My brother just sent me one of the best texts I’ve ever received,” Obama wrote on Instagram alongside a screenshot of the text.</p> <p>Robinson’s message to her read: “As I sit listening to the words of your book for the third time albeit this time by audiobook, it occurred to me that I haven’t thanked you for all your memories.</p> <p>“Since I'm the one who is supposed to remember everything, I realized I have blocked out everything regarding dad's death. I was here crying and laughing at the sadness of the story and the comfort of your voice.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BwPq5iKh2nw/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BwPq5iKh2nw/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama)</a> on Apr 14, 2019 at 10:46am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>In her book, Obama wrote extensively about her father Fraser Robinson III, who struggled with multiple sclerosis for years and died in 1991 at the age of 55.</p> <p>Her brother signed off the message by thanking her for sharing her experience. </p> <p>“All I can think of is how much I love my little sister. Thank you,” Craig wrote.</p> <p>In the post, Obama explained how much her father meant to the two of them. </p> <p>“The laughs and lessons, the hugs, the heartache from losing him – they’re all still there with me, every minute,” she admitted.</p> <p>She also highlighted that sharing personal stories can help loved ones connect, even when they are “an ocean away”, just like her brother Robinson. “Love you, big brother,” Obama signed off. </p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BwFHzRBBqFs/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BwFHzRBBqFs/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama)</a> on Apr 10, 2019 at 8:27am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Obama also shared in <em>Becoming</em> about her closeness with Craig. </p> <p>“You have been my protector since the day I was born,” she wrote to her brother in the memoir. </p> <p>"You have made me laugh more than any other person on this earth. You are the best brother a sister could ask for, a loving and caring son, husband, and father.”</p> <p>Have you read Michelle Obama's autobiography<span> </span><em>Becoming</em>? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

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What the books you read say about your personality

<p>Many believe that what you read says a lot about who you are – as director Guillermo del Toro once said, “Browsing through someone’s library is like peeking into their DNA.”</p> <p>But can our personality truly predict our tastes in books? Yes, according to a study published on <span><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2010.00662.x"><em>Journal of Personality</em></a></span>.</p> <p>In the study based on a survey of 3,227 participants, the researchers found that preferences in books, magazines, music, TV and movies are correlated with certain personalities.</p> <p>The correlation with personality type is also found to be stronger than other factors, such as gender, age and ethnicity.</p> <p><span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/oct/02/what-do-the-films-you-watch-and-books-you-read-reveal-about-your-personality-type">The study</a></span> asked whether the respondents preferred:</p> <p>a) Daytime talk shows, romance, cooking and religion</p> <p>b) Arts and humanities, classics, foreign films and poetry</p> <p>c) Horror, cult films and erotic novels</p> <p>d) Action and adventure, thrillers, sci-fi films and spy stories</p> <p>e) News, documentaries and nonfiction</p> <p>From the answers, the researchers were able to determine the personality type to which the participants belonged. If you prefer a) you are communal; b) aesthetic; c) dark; d) thrilling; or e) cerebral.</p> <p>Communal people tend to be relationship-oriented and empathic, if unadventurous. Fans of aesthetic and dark entertainment tend to be creative and intellectual, but while the former are calmer and more introspective, the latter may see themselves as more defiant, reckless and immodest.</p> <p>Cerebral individuals are likely to be well-organised, innovative and self-assured to a point where they dislike cooperation. Thrilling is the only preference with no consistent correlation to any personality facets.</p> <p>However, the researchers said personality might not be the only driver in taste, citing political leanings and mood as a few other factors that may be in play.</p> <p>Other studies have their own propositions on what influences our genre preferences. Last year, the <span><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-13/what-your-habits-reveal-about-your-social-class/9610658">Australian Cultural Fields project</a></span> found that education and occupation are strong predictors of what you might find enjoyable in books. People with high school qualifications are the most likely to prefer romance and sport, while those with postgraduate degrees are the most likely to read biographies, thriller and literary classics for pleasure or interest.</p> <p>Do you agree with the findings from these studies? Let us know in the comments.</p>

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Why not all glass can be recycled

<p>When it comes to recycling, glass is one of the few materials that can be recycled over and over again.</p> <p>However, this does not mean that all glass can be put in the recycling bin. In fact, most experts say only jars and bottles should be thrown in as recyclables.</p> <p>This means other glass items in the house might be better off going to the trash.</p> <p>“Microwave turntables, ovenware, crystal glass, mirrors and light bulbs can't be recycled,” said Craig Mynott, from glass recycling plant O-I Asia Pacific in an interview with the <span><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-22/can-all-glass-really-be-recycled-war-on-waste/8541048"><em>ABC</em></a></span>. “We prefer if people don't put them in the recycling bin.”</p> <p>This is because different kinds of glass go through different types of manufacturing processes. According to the <span><a href="http://www.gpi.org/recycling/glass-recycling-facts">Glass Packaging Institute</a></span>, while glass containers for food and beverages are 100 per cent recyclable, the same cannot be said for other kinds of glass, such as windows, ceramics, Pyrex and crystal. These kinds of glass may contain products that cannot be reused.</p> <p>Furthermore, other glass types are often more fragile as they are designed to be transparent or heat resistant.</p> <p>That is why, the GPI said, adding these materials in the recycling process may cause production problems and defective results.</p> <p>So, what should you do with glass products that you want to dispose of? For lightbulbs, check with your local council to see if they have a recycling program. Otherwise, for incandescent and halogen globes, you can simply wrap them in paper and put them in the waste bin.</p> <p>Some organisations also accept specific products. <span><a href="http://lionsclubs.org.au/activities/health/vision-hearing/recycle-for-sight/">Lions Clubs</a></span> will take your unwanted glasses and sunglasses, while <span><a href="https://reversegarbage.org.au">Reverse Garbage</a></span> goes for windows and containers.</p> <p>When all else fails, selling or donating glass products is a good idea. You can also get creative and repurpose the glass products – for example, using old drinking glasses as a plant pot.</p> <p>How do you recycle your glass items? Share with us in the comments.</p>

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5 golden rules to help solve your recycling dilemmas

<p>Have you ever found yourself facing your recycling bin, completely befuddled about whether or not you can put a particular item in it? You’re not alone. According to Planet Ark, <a href="http://recyclingnearyou.com.au/documents/05nrw_gbugly_report-1.pdf">nearly half of Australians find recycling confusing</a>.</p> <p>Australia’s recycling rules can seem horrendously complicated, but fortunately they are <a href="http://theconversation.com/recycling-can-be-confusing-but-its-getting-simpler-68063">becoming more simple</a>.</p> <p>In the meantime, here’s a brief guide to some of the golden rules of kerbside recycling, plus what to do with materials that can’t go in your recycling bin.</p> <hr /> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/162140/original/image-20170323-13486-5j3j3r.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">The Conversation</span>, <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/" class="license">CC BY-ND</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>As the first rule above says, most papers, plastics, metals and glasses can be recycled, but there are a few exceptions and rules for special handling. To find out more, click on each material below. This will also tell you how else you can recycle the items that can’t go in your kerbside recycling bin.</p> <p>Other helpful sources for recycling rules include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Planet Ark’s <a href="http://recyclingnearyou.com.au/recyclesmart/index.cfm">mobile app</a>, <a href="http://recyclingnearyou.com.au/">online guide</a> and <a href="http://recyclingweek.planetark.org/recycling-info/%22%22">National Recycling Week website</a>.</p> </li> <li> <p>The Victorian government’s <a href="http://getitrightbinnight.vic.gov.au/what-can-i-recycle">Get it right on bin night</a> and the South Australian government’s <a href="http://www.recycleright.sa.gov.au/">Recycle right</a> campaigns.</p> </li> <li> <p>Sydney’s <a href="http://garbageguru.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/">Garbage Guru</a>, which lets you look up any item and see the best thing to do with it – it’s likely to be applicable to many other cities across the country.</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>Why do some things need special treatment?</strong></p> <p>Some items need special handling before they can go in kerbside recycling. These are generally either very small items, or complex/composite items.</p> <p><strong>Small items</strong>, like scraps of paper or foil, steel bottle caps or plastic bottle lids and coffee pods, can cause problems if simply placed in a recycling bin. Because they are small, they can literally fall through the cracks in sorting machines, causing damage to the machines or ending up in landfill.</p> <p><strong>Combined or composite items</strong> are complex items that contain multiple materials, such as newspapers or magazines in plastic wrap, or composite items like Pringles tubes. Automated recycling machines can cope with very small amounts of different materials, such as staples in paper, plastic windows on envelopes, paper labels on glass jars, or slight residues of food on containers. But items with multiple materials can confuse the machines and end up in the wrong category, introducing contamination.</p> <p><strong>Why is contamination an issue?</strong></p> <p>Contamination is when things that can’t be recycled through kerbside recycling systems end up in the recycling system.</p> <p>Contamination can create many problems: recyclable materials may need to be dumped in landfill; the output of recycled materials is less pure; workers at recycling facilities can be put at risk; and in some cases machinery can be damaged. All of these lead to increased costs of recycling that may be passed on to residents.</p> <p>For example, glass recycling programs are designed only to process glass bottles and jars, which are crushed and then melted down and re-used. Drinking glasses, ceramics, plate glass (window panes) and oven-proof glass melt at higher temperatures than normal glass bottles and jars. When these are incorrectly placed in recycling, this tougher glass can remain solid among the melted glass, leading to impure glass products and damaged machinery.</p> <p>Better technology is helping to remove contaminants during sorting. But it’s always best to get it right at the source. Planet Ark says that a good recycler’s motto is: “If in doubt, leave it out.”</p> <p><strong>What about things that can’t be recycled at home?</strong></p> <p>Just because something can’t be recycled through kerbside collections, that doesn’t mean it can’t be recycled at all.</p> <p>New channels for recycling more complex items have been pioneered by organisations such as <a href="http://recyclingnearyou.com.au/recyclesmart/index.cfm">Planet Ark</a> and <a href="http://www.terracycle.com.au/en-AU/brigades">TerraCycle</a>, as well as by local councils, industry and government under schemes such as the <a href="http://www.packagingcovenant.org.au/">Australian Packaging Covenant</a> and the <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/protection/national-waste-policy/television-and-computer-recycling-scheme">National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme</a>.</p> <p>Most councils have drop-off locations for larger items that can’t go in kerbside bins, such as electronics, batteries, light bulbs, chemicals and hazardous waste, as well as pickups for white goods and mattresses.</p> <p>Many supermarkets in metro areas have <a href="http://redcycle.net.au/redcycle/">REDcycle</a> bins that accept soft plastics like plastic bags, soft plastic packaging, biscuit packets and trays, dry cleaning bags, and other “scrunchable” plastics.</p> <p>Industry take-back programs include <a href="http://www.fridgebuyback.com.au/">Fridge Buy Back</a>, <a href="http://techcollect.com.au/">TechCollect</a> for electronics, and <a href="http://www.ReturnMed.com.au">ReturnMed</a> for unwanted or expired medicines.</p> <p>Some big companies now have collection points, such as <a href="http://www.ikea.com/au/en/store/rhodes/services#recycling">Ikea</a> which take used batteries, light bulbs, mattresses and allen keys, and <a href="https://corporate.aldi.com.au/en/corporate-responsibility/operations/battery-recycling/">ALDI</a> which also takes used batteries.</p> <p>Recycling is vital to reducing resource use and waste to landfill, and so getting it right is crucial.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/65552/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="tc-infographic-206" class="tc-infographic" height="1200" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/infographics/206/d27a7b85b2795827a6d10f713aeb8c7f638d4da7/site/index.html" width="100%" style="border: none;" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p><em>Written by <span>Jenni Downes, Research Consultant, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/five-golden-rules-to-help-solve-your-recycling-dilemmas-65552"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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How the Bible helped shape Australian culture

<p>Did you know the anti-Christian slang, “Bible-bashers,” was coined by Australians? Or that the largest crowd ever to gather at the Melbourne Cricket Ground was for Billy Graham in 1959? There were an estimated 143,750 people in attendance. These are just a couple of the historical gems waiting to be discovered in Meredith Lake’s book, <em>The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History</em>.</p> <p>Lake draws on an astonishing range of sources to craft a narrative about the complex and nuanced place the Bible has held in Australian culture since hundreds of copies arrived with the First Fleet in 1787. She argues the Bible has mattered deeply in forming Australian culture, but never in a simple way.</p> <p>Time and time again, Lake traces the multiplicity of biblical interpretations and applications to show that throughout Australian history, the Bible has been used by those asserting colonial power and those subverting it as a tool of oppression and an instrument of justice. In doing so, Lake shatters the dominant competing myths that Australia is either a “doggedly secular society” or a “straightforwardly Christian nation.” We are neither, although both claims continue to rear their heads.</p> <p>The book is organised in four parts, each covering a major period of post-invasion Australian history: colonialisation; missionary expansion and immigration; federation and war; and the 20th century’s turn towards secularism.</p> <p>In each of these periods, Lake highlights the “three main guises” in which the Bible has appeared – “the globalising Bible, the cultural Bible and the theological Bible.”</p> <p>The globalising force of the Bible is one that connects people across geographical and cultural boundaries, and is thus marked by adaptation. By 1904, the Bible had been translated into 378 languages, with a global distribution of over 186 million.</p> <p>In Australia, the Bible’s arrival was accompanied by a prevailing European cultural heritage with linear ideas about time, entrenched concepts of government (and imperialism) and a language already shaped by biblical literature. All of which stood in stark contrast to Indigenous Australian culture.</p> <p>As a cultural force, the Bible was a central point of reference for Christians and atheists alike, particularly in the 19th century. It was associated with civilisation (acknowledging the problematic use of that term in British colonial history), with a rich literary and artistic tradition, and as the core text for determining morality and ethics, even by those who were not Christian. As the English agnostic Thomas Huxley wrote in 1870, “there still remains in this old literature a vast residuum of moral beauty and grandeur.”</p> <p>The “theological Bible” is a term Lake uses to describe biblical interpretation that is intimately connected with faith. This type of interpretation considers the Bible the sacred “word of God”: one that is efficacious in continuing to communicate God’s will as revealed in the Bible and to transform lives.</p> <p>Lake acknowledges that this aspect of the Bible in history is the hardest to understand for people who do not share a faith perspective. Yet, she writes, “history always requires openness and imagination” and Lake’s use of these theological sources is sympathetic, accepting them on their own terms.</p> <p>That the Bible can be used in diverse ways is a thread that runs through this book. Christians interpreted the Bible through the lens of a theology of creation and providence to justify colonisation, the notion of <em>terra nullius</em>, and Australia’s White Australia Policy. But as has so often been the case, the same text was used to subvert these claims.</p> <p>From the very earliest phases of colonisation, convicts identified their gaolers as “Pharisees,” thus identifying themselves as Jesus-like innocent victims. Convict John Hawes, Lake records, mimetically referenced <a href="https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+23%3A34&amp;version=NIV">Luke’s crucifixion</a> of Jesus as he prepared for the noose saying, “I forgive all my oppressors.”</p> <p>Indigenous Australians would also, paradoxically, find liberation in the very text that was so often used to oppress them. William Cooper, a Yorta Yorta man, applied what he learned on Maloga Mission to make biblical arguments for Indigenous land tenure and organise a Day of Mourning on 26 January 1938. “In Cooper’s hands, the Bible not only sharpened his critique of colonialism, it nourished his vision for a more truly Christian community.” Cooper reminded white politicians that all humans were created by God and of equal value in “the sight of God”.</p> <p>Several implications emerge from reading Lake’s book, but here I will focus on three. Firstly, Lake implicitly reminds us that the Bible’s chequered history in this country must be acknowledged in order for reconciliation to continue.</p> <p>History serves as a warning to any Christian that biblical interpretation requires care and responsible practice. Simultaneously, her work reveals the constancy with which the life-giving potential of this text rises to subvert injustice and oppressive power.</p> <p><strong>Religious education</strong></p> <p>The second issue relates to the place of the Bible in the Australian education system. The first schools in Australia were denominational; church schools that emerged to serve local populations. Understandably, the Bible was core curriculum in these schools where it was both prayed, preached, and taught in class. In the early 1900s, these schools were subsidised by the state but “without interference” in terms of doctrine or curriculum.</p> <p>By the mid-19th century, education was highly contested in terms of accessibility for rural and underprivileged children. In this context, the first government schools emerged. Famously, education was declared “free, compulsory and secular” in the Public Instruction Acts of the 1870s and 80s. As Lake writes, “secular, on this view, meant rejecting sectarian division in favour of common Christianity as a basis for citizenship.” While not denominational, most of these schools (except in Victoria) continued to teach the Bible, emphasising its ethical aspects as a common good for shaping citizens and society.</p> <p>Today, most Australian high school students will, at some point in their education, encounter Shakespeare, but not the Bible. This is despite the fact the Bible’s cultural force and historic import arguably outweighs that of Shakespeare.</p> <p>As I write, The University of Melbourne commendably offers subjects in Islamic studies (including the Qur’an) and Judaic studies, but nothing on the history of Christianity nor the Bible. While there is increasing recognition that the study of world religions (and their sacred texts) contributes to political and socio-cultural understanding, the historical privileging of Christianity has ironically meant its exclusion from a humanities curriculum in most places.</p> <p>Monash University offers a more rounded religious studies curriculum, with a “Biblical Texts and Contexts” unit. The University of Sydney offers a fuller program again. Despite these latter examples, Australia lags well behind global trends when it comes to our universities offering academic study of religion. The Bible is studied in theological schools and seminaries, too often divorced from a wider curriculum or rigorous critique. How do we expect the next generation to navigate the complexities of the current world without robust, academic religious education that includes Christian sources?</p> <p><strong>Pluralism</strong></p> <p>The third challenge Lake issues relates to pluralism and the kind of country we want to be. Lake argues that to “restrict or exclude religious voices, or to treat religious texts as illegitimate reference points in public conversation, runs counter to the ideal of a plural but inclusive polity and society.” She strongly challenges, rightly so in my opinion, the notion that Christianity or the Bible be given any “particular privilege” in a pluralistic society, but also asserts that “robust pluralism” cannot exclude the religious.</p> <p>This relates to but extends the point above: to have nuanced conversation and public debate, particularly about ethical and moral issues, requires some historical and cultural understanding of the role religion and religious texts have and continue to play in our society.</p> <p>We saw the importance of navigating these texts in last year’s debates about marriage equality and voluntary assisted dying. In the Australian context, a degree of biblical literacy remains essential, not least to mitigate against fundamentalism or <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1988/04/09/theologians-cite-bible-against-apartheid/c77614b4-cc0a-4db0-99b3-1f4b75f28f2d/?utm_term=.f2150d83f2b4">poor biblical interpretation</a>.</p> <p>I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand more fully the role of the Bible in Australian history as well as in contemporary culture and public debate. It is delightful and informative to read, and will provide much food for thought.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/96265/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Robyn J. Whitaker, Bromby Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies, Trinity College, University of Divinity</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/how-the-bible-helped-shape-australian-culture-96265"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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Why are books so expensive in Australia?

<p>In 2009, in the midst of the rancorous <a href="http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/parallel-imports.aspx">parallel importation</a> debate the Productivity Commission undertook a thorough examination of book prices in Australia compared to comparable prices in the US and the UK. It was by far the best and most comprehensive analysis ever undertaken (which, by the way, didn’t stop the Australian Society of Authors <a href="http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/87828/subdr330.pdf">judging it</a> as “guesswork” and the Australian Publishers Association <a href="http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/88294/subdr513.pdf">condemning it</a> as “worthless”).</p> <p>The Commission <a href="http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/90265/books.pdf">found that</a> “the RRPs [recommended retail prices] of matched editions in Australia were on average 9 per cent higher than the RRPs of like editions in the UK, and 35 per cent higher than the RRPs of like editions in the US”. For the cheapest editions, mass-market paperbacks generally, the prices were 13 per cent higher and 50 per cent higher respectively.</p> <p>Five years later, have things changed? The short answer is yes, very definitely, but it took three to four years to happen. Since the Aussie dollar achieved parity and above with the US dollar in 2011, and the highest rate against the pound in 28 years, most publishers have been shocked into adjusting their pricing practices. It finally sank in that they were losing at least 15-20 per cent of their market to overseas online suppliers Amazon and The Book Depository.</p> <p>Until around 2012 the great majority of Australian-based publishers who imported US and UK titles used formulaic pricing practices way out of kilter with then current exchange rates. They were not responsive, and with parallel importation restrictions in place, were under no pressure to be responsive, to competitive pressures of any substance.</p> <p>They also locked in retail “price points” that invariably pushed the formula-derived price up another couple of dollars. And they hardly ever changed those prices, except upwards, when changed exchange rate realities demanded it. It wasn’t until the hefty strengthening of the dollar after the GFC plunge in 2008, and consumers’ discovery of online alternatives, that publishers finally awoke from their comfortable slumber. But it was too late, of course. The consumers had flown. Their ingrained expectation was that, even if the local bookseller had it in stock, the price would be way over the top.</p> <p>I had been preaching (and practising) for years that there was a golden rule in import pricing that publishers must follow if they wanted to keep faith with the consumer:</p> <blockquote> <p>today’s exchange rate, plus 10 per cent, plus GST, then round up or down to the nearest 95 or 99 cents.</p> </blockquote> <p>The reason for the 10 per cent mark-up prior to the addition of the 10 per cent GST? To build in a hedge for exchange volatility. Pricing at one rate and paying your overseas supplier at a possible disadvantageous rate three or more months later can be a real problem for importers. Hence the hedge.</p> <p>As everyone knows, the Australian dollar climbs via the stairs and falls via the lift well. (But whether this hedge can be sustained if the dollar continues to strengthen is doubtful).</p> <p>But what about freight, you ask, especially these days when air freight is the norm? Well, here’s another golden rule on importing:</p> <blockquote> <p>booksellers pay freight; publishers don’t.</p> </blockquote> <p>Publishers have that cost built into their intercompany or agency trading arrangements. More generous terms than their sister companies in other parts or the world are standard to recognise the additional impost of shipping to Australia.</p> <p>For decades the great majority of importing publishers in Australia ignored these rules and kept in place increasingly unjustifiable markups as the dollar strengthened. Their conundrum was this:</p> <blockquote> <p>revenues are falling but lowering prices would just worsen the situation and put profit targets and bonuses at risk.</p> </blockquote> <p>There was no economic philosophy and no customer focus, much less basic business integrity. Opportunism had become the playbook. The local subsidiary company was creaming the loyal local book buyer while the parent company was selling to Amazon anyway. So the global corporation couldn’t lose.</p> <p>It is my sense that things over the last two years have changed considerably for the better. Of course there are still some rogues, but most publishers today seem to be pricing pretty competitively on most of their titles.</p> <p>Let’s take some recent examples, chosen at random. I list the US or UK price, the Australian price, the A$ price according to my formula above, and my value rating (using the FX rates US$0.94 and £0.55p):</p> <ul> <li> <p>Hillary Clinton, <em>Hard Choices</em>: US$35.00; A$39.99; A$44.99 (five stars!)</p> </li> <li> <p>Thomas Piketty, <em>Capital in the 21st Century</em>: US$39.95; A$59.95; A$51.95 (two stars)</p> </li> <li> <p>Michael Lewis, <em>Flash Boys</em>: US$27.95; A$39.99;A$35.95 (three stars)</p> </li> <li> <p>Edward St Aubyn, <em>Lost For Words</em>: £12.99; A$34.99; A$28.99 (one star)</p> </li> <li> <p>George Saunders, <em>Tenth of December</em>: £14.99; A$29.99; A$32.95 (five stars!)</p> </li> </ul> <p>The most egregious rip-off I could find in a recent morning spent perusing the shelves at Readings was US Senator Elizabeth Warren’s A Fighting Chance, which is priced at A$47.95 but should be no more than A$35.95. In the US it’s US$28.00.</p> <p>Speaking of Readings, like many retailers it is having to discount many titles to make them more competitive for their customers. This is doing the job that publishers should be doing in the first place. Of course they are also competing with aggressive local online retailers such as Booktopia and Bookworld.</p> <p>The booksellers are losing margin they can barely afford. The customers are getting a good deal.</p> <p>Another striking feature of today’s pricing landscape has to do with locally published titles or editions. The days of the universal A$32.95 Trade Paperback (TPB) are over, with the majority at A$29.99 or lower, and there is absolutely no relation between number of pages and price.</p> <p>Janette Turner Hospital’s beautifully produced The Claimant has 609 pages, and at A$29.99 is the same price as the local cheaply produced 259-page edition of Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide.</p> <p>Hardbacks, though, are making a comeback. One can only be cynical and observe that publishers are extracting another A$10-A$15.00 from the customer to cover the extra dollar or two in printing and binding.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/book-review-dangerous-allies-by-malcolm-fraser-25995">Malcolm Fraser’s Dangerous Allies</a> is an outrageous A$49.95 for its 372 black and white pages, and Tim Winton’s 419-page Eyrie is a completely-unjustified $49.50.</p> <p>Compare these two to Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries (832 pages; Trade Paperback; A$29.99) and Christos Tsiolkas’s Barracuda (516 pages; Trade Paperback; $32.99); and compare them to the luscious A$50.00 cookery titles Australian publishers do so well.</p> <p>Too many publishers are too frequently upping prices to afford big discounts to department stores such as Big W, which now own <a href="http://annesummers.com.au/pdf/asr7/bookselling.pdf">a third of the market</a>, but in doing that they are really hammering bookloving customers of the quality independents. It’s rotten, miserable and unfair.</p> <p>In summary, book prices in Australia are far more reasonable than they’ve been for decades. “Pricing to formula” has given way to “pricing to Amazon” on imports, and the pricing of local titles and editions is pretty competitive given the value you get.</p> <p>You just have to be careful of the rogues and outliers, and offer up a prayer for the booksellers.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/27928/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Peter Donoughue, Sessional lecturer in the Master of Communication, University of Melbourne</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/cover-story-why-are-books-so-expensive-in-australia-27928"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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"Eat Pray Love" author Elizabeth Gilbert finds loves one year after losing partner

<p>It has been a little over a year since the <em>Eat Pray Love</em> author Elizabeth Gilbert lost her partner of two years and the beloved writer has found love again in her “sweetheart.”</p> <p>Taking to Instagram to share the new relationship, Gilbert announced with a sweet photo and a “sense of rebirth and renewal” she was “in love” – and with an unlikely friend who was write under her nose.</p> <p>The new partner was introduced as Mr Simon MacArthur who is a photographer from the UK.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BvZXbekn-Ej/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BvZXbekn-Ej/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Elizabeth Gilbert (@elizabeth_gilbert_writer)</a> on Mar 24, 2019 at 8:37am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“Of late, Simon and I have found our way to each other’s arms. And now here we are, and his heart has been such a warm place for me to land. I share this news publicly, despite the fact that our love story is so new and young and tender…,” the novelist wrote on Instagram.</p> <p>The pair have been friends for years and met through Gilbert’s late partner Rayya Elias, who was a housemate of MacArthur's many years ago.</p> <p>“They lived together in London over 30 years ago, and they adored each other forever like siblings,” she said. “This, as you can imagine, means the world to me.”</p> <p>While the relationship is new, the 49-year-old writer said she decided to share her romance with fans to help people feel “normal” about being in love after losing a loved one.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="/media/7825326/gettyimages-482107353.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/75eaaab700d34d3aa79f233131286e1c" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em> Elizabeth Gilbert and Rayya Elias</em></p> <p>“Your heart is a giant cathedral. Let it open. Let it love. Do not let your gorgeous loyalty to the deceased stop you from experiencing the marvels and terrors of your short, mortal, precious life. It’s OK to live, and to love,” her caption read on Instagram.</p> <p>Both Gilbert and her late partner had been close friends for 15 years, but her feelings changed for her long-time pal after she was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic and liver cancer.</p> <p>Both she and Elias decided to go public with their relationship in 2016 following a divorce from her husband of nine years, Jose Nunes.</p> <p>The author added it’s OK to be scared of new experiences, but to do them anyway.</p> <p>“…If you are falling in love in middle age and it’s terrifying, because you feel just as dumb and crazy and excited and insecure as you did at 16? Well, let me normalize this for you.</p> <p>“It’s OK. You will always feel 16 when you are falling in love… Love who you love.”</p>

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Collect books but never read them? There's a word for that

<p>Some people can’t get out of a bookstore without picking up a title or two, even if they already have loads of books at home waiting to be read.</p> <p>If this describes you, you might be engaging in “tsundoku”, which is a Japanese term for a person who owns a lot of unread books.</p> <p>According to <span><a href="http://www.openculture.com/2018/07/tsundoku.html"><em>Open Culture</em></a></span>, the word tsundoku dates back to the Meiji era (1868-1912) as a pun.</p> <p>Andrew Gerstle, professor of Japanese studies at the University of London told <span><a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-44981013"><em>BBC</em></a></span> that the word “doku” can be understood as a verb that means “reading”, while the “tsun” part originates in “tsumu” or “pile up”. Put together, “tsundoku” means buying reading material and piling it up.</p> <p>Gerstle said the word is not an insult in Japan, even if it might be interpreted otherwise in other countries.</p> <p>Tsundoku is distinct from the word “bibliomania”, a term commonly used by self-identified book lovers. Oxford Living Dictionaries defines the latter as “passionate enthusiasm for collecting and possessing books”. While people engaging in tsundoku pile up books by accident, bibliomaniacs have a clear intention to create a collection of books.</p> <p>No matter which category you fall into, guilt may come into play as you add another copy or two into your ever-growing library. However, as book critic Michael Dirda said: “As book collectors know all too well: We only regret our economies, never our extravagances.”</p> <p>Do you buy books that you barely get around to reading? Let us know in the comments.</p>

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Letter from Queen hidden in Sydney building – and it can't be opened for another 66 years

<p>Queen Elizabeth has written a letter to the “citizens of Sydney” and has hidden it inside one of the city’s most famous buildings.</p> <p>The contents of the letter are unknown as the letter is unable to be read by anyone for another 66 years.</p> <p>Across the front of the letter, there are instructions written in cursive scroll from Her Majesty. They were given on November 18th, 1986.</p> <p>The instructions are as follows:</p> <p>“The Rt. Hon. The LORD MAYOR of SYDNEY. AUSTRALIA</p> <p>“Greetings. On a suitable day to be selected by you in the year 2085 A.D. would you please open this envelope and convey to the citizens of SYDNEY my message to them.”</p> <p>If you’re interested in sneaking a peak early at the letter, that won’t be possible. The letter is behind sealed glass, so you’re unable to even jimmy the glass to open the letter.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" class="post_image_group" src="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/25738857/big-Queens-Letter-QVB.jpg" alt="" data-asset_id="25738857" data-url-thumb="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/25738857/thumb-Queens-Letter-QVB.jpg" data-url-thumb-small="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/25738857/thumb_small-Queens-Letter-QVB.jpg" data-url-thumb-big-scaled="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/25738857/thumb_big_scaled-Queens-Letter-QVB.jpg" data-url-large="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/25738857/large-Queens-Letter-QVB.jpg" data-url-big="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/25738857/big-Queens-Letter-QVB.jpg" data-url-original="https://over60.monday.com/protected_static/657795/resources/25738857/Queens-Letter-QVB.jpg" data-filename="Queens-Letter-QVB.jpg" data-is-gif="false" data-post-id="296662686&quot;" /><em>What the letter looks like (Source: History of Sydney)</em></p> <p>The letter was written after the Queen Victoria Building’s reopening after major restoration works had taken place in 1986.</p> <p>According to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.historyofsydney.com.au/the-queens-letter-queen-victoria-building/" target="_blank">History of Sydney</a>, only the Queen knows what’s inside and it’ll stay that way until the letter is opened.</p> <p>If you think that you can easily find this letter, you’d be sorely mistaken. The glass fame is in the dome area that has restricted access, according to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/australia/mysterious-royal-letters-threatened-demolition-and-hidden-rooms-the-queen-victoria-building-is-full-of-secrets.aspx" target="_blank">National Geographic.</a></p> <p>Some tours of the QVB will let you have a sneak peak at the letter, but there are nods to the Queen all throughout the building. The <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.qvb.com.au/centre-info/about-qvb/" target="_blank">official website </a>of the heritage-listed building explains:</p> <p>"There are many interesting and charming exhibitions and attractions throughout the building, along with portraits of the Queen.</p> <p>"There is also a letter from Queen Elizabeth II to the Citizens of Sydney to be opened and read by the Lord Mayor of Sydney in the year 2085."</p> <p>Have you seen the letter? Did you know about its existence? Let us know in the comments.</p>

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Why we should embrace slow reading

<p>My happiest times in childhood were spent reading the books of <a href="http://www.edithnesbit.co.uk/biography.php">E. Nesbit</a>, <a href="http://www.cslewis.com/us/about-cs-lewis/">C.S. Lewis</a> and <a href="http://www.joanaiken.com/">Joan Aiken</a>. Preferring to read in hidden corners where nobody could find me, I immersed myself completely in these stories and believed utterly in their magic, even attempting to enter Narnia via the portal of my grandmother’s wardrobe. As an adult, I still call myself a passionate reader, but sometimes feel as if I’ve lost my way compared to my childhood self. I buy vast quantities of books, talk about books, read as many as possible, sometimes even write them – but it’s not often I find that same pure immersion in an imagined world which has been such a lasting inspiration.</p> <p>Celebrations like <a href="https://www.worldbookday.com/">World Book day</a> promote children’s reading and remind us all of the pleasures of a good book. Many of us make resolutions to read more, but these days there’s increasing pressure to read the “right” thing. The adult world presents a constant temptation to turn every activity into a competitive sport, and reading is no exception: it is beset with targets, hierarchies and categorisations. We guilt-read chick-lit and crime, skim-read for book groups and improvement-read from book prize shortlists.</p> <p>Underpinning this is a relentless quest for self-improvement, demonstrated by the popularity of reading challenges, in which readers set themselves individual book consumption targets. On <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/">Good Reads</a>, some participants have modest goals, others aim for as many as 190 in the year, which translates to 15.8 books a month, 3.6 a week or just over half a book each day. Impressive? Maybe, but others are reading even faster. One journalist recently embarked on a seven day social media detox <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/dec/29/social-media-detox-read-books-one-week">and read a dozen books</a> in that time. It’s a far cry from my days with Mr Tumnus.</p> <p><strong>A profound joy</strong></p> <p>This raises a fundamental question: why do we read at all? Do we want to enjoy books, or download them into our brains? Are we so obsessed with being able to tick a book title off a check-list that we risk forgetting that reading is a physical and emotional activity as well as an intellectual one? The perceived benefits of reading are often given more attention than the experience itself: campaigners tend to stress its utilitarian value and research findings that it <a href="https://scottbarrykaufman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Science-2013-Kidd-science.1239918.pdf">increases empathy</a> and even <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277953616303689">life expectancy</a>.</p> <p>But the reading experience is important. A sure sign of loving a book is slowing down when you come to the final pages, reluctant to leave the world it creates behind. As the UK reading agency <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/409409/Reading_the_next_steps.pdf">puts it</a>, “in addition to its substantial practical benefits, reading is one of life’s profound joys”. Children seem to know this intuitively, and engage fully with a story, often to the exclusion of all else. They are demanding, honest readers, more interested in what happens in a tale and where it takes them than whether it’s a <a href="http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/">Carnegie</a> prize-winner.</p> <p><strong>Slow reading</strong></p> <p>As an adult, it is possible to recapture that immersive involvement with a book. What we need is the opportunity to focus entirely on the words, and a willingness to ignore stress-inducing challenges and targets. When I was writing my second novel I lived in Barcelona for a year, day-job free. During that time I read just six books, one of them Joseph Conrad’s <em>The Secret Agent</em>. At a recent writing retreat, I spent two hours a day reading Michel Faber’s <em>The Crimson Petal and the White</em>. I engaged completely with these novels, forgetting the outside world, and they have stayed with me, their characters and plot twists vivid and familiar when other books, read hurriedly in snatches amid distractions, have faded from my mind.</p> <p>I’m not alone in seeing the value of immersive, non-competitive reading. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/nov/30/sarah-waters-books-that-made-me">In a recent <em>Guardian</em> article</a>, author Sarah Waters admitted to feeling out of the loop when current writing is discussed. Asked which book she is “most ashamed not to have read” (a telling phrase), she responded, “Anything people are currently raving about. I’m a slow reader, and I read old books as often as new ones, so I always feel like a hopeless failure when it comes to keeping up with brand new titles”.</p> <p>There are already advocates of <a href="https://www.sloww.co/slow-living-201/">slow living</a>, and a cultural shift toward slowing down life’s pace, savouring experience and rediscovering human connection. Perhaps it is time for this to encompass reading too. <a href="https://ebookfriendly.com/countries-publish-most-books-infographic/">184,000 books are published each year in the UK alone</a>, and we’re not going to make much of a dent in that pile even if we read 12 books a week. Indeed, no matter how fast we read, the vast majority of books will remain unknown to us. If there is one skill that adult readers can usefully learn from children, it is that of reading purely for pleasure.</p> <p><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><em>Written by <span>Sally O'Reilly, Lecturer in Creative Writing, The Open University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/books-are-delightful-as-they-are-dont-fall-in-the-trap-of-competitive-reading-111114"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/111114/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p>

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11 best sites to legally download free books

<p>The Internet is an amazing place to find countless things, including free books. Many websites today provide free and legal access to books on nearly any subject, making it easier to build your own digital library.</p> <p>Furthermore, tens of thousands of books have entered public domain this year, making them available to read, download and share. This is due to an amendment in the US copyright law, which states that works published between 1923 and 1977 can enter public domain 95 years after their creation.</p> <p>Because of this, famous books published in 1923 – including works by Agatha Christie, Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill, and Kahlil Gibran – are now free to access. You can download titles such as <em>The Murder on the Links</em>, <em>The Prophet</em>, and <em>Jacob’s Room </em>at one or more of the following sites:</p> <ol> <li><span><a href="http://www.authorama.com/">Authorama</a></span></li> <li><span>Duke Law School's <a href="https://law.duke.edu/cspd/">Center for the Study of the Public Domain</a></span></li> <li><span><a href="http://freecomputerbooks.com/">Free Computer Books</a></span></li> <li><span><a href="http://en.childrenslibrary.org/">International Digital Children's Library</a></span></li> <li><span><a href="http://www.online-literature.com/author_index.php">The Literature Network</a></span></li> <li><span><a href="https://librivox.org/">Librivox</a></span> (audio books)</li> <li><span><a href="http://manybooks.net/">ManyBooks</a></span></li> <li><span><a href="http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page">Project Gutenberg</a></span></li> <li><span><a href="https://www.questia.com/library/free-books">Questia Public Library</a></span></li> <li><span><a href="http://www.readprint.com/">Read Print</a></span></li> <li><span><a href="https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page">Wikibooks</a></span></li> </ol> <p>Do you know any other resources for free books? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

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5 ways that reading with children helps their education

<p>For book lovers, reading to children may seem obvious. Why would they not want to pass on their love of literature? However, researchers have shown there are more benefits for both adult and child that come with reading than just building a bond – particularly when it comes to education.</p> <p>A lot of research has been done into the effects of children engaging with literacy related activities at home. Much of this focuses on the early years, and how the literacy environment helps to develop emergent literacy skills. Shared book reading early on <a href="https://kundoc.com/pdf-picture-book-reading-with-young-children-a-conceptual-framework-.html">stimulates language and reading development</a>, for example.</p> <p>But the home literacy environment doesn’t stop being important once children have learnt to read. The opportunities that a child has to read at the home, and parental beliefs and behaviours, continue to impact on children’s reading throughout the school years. Here are just five ways that reading with your child can help their general education.</p> <p><strong>1. It opens up new worlds</strong></p> <p>Reading together as a family can instill a love of books from an early age. By taking the time to turn the pages together, adults can help children see that reading is something to enjoy and not a chore. Some schoolchildren read because they like it but others do it because they will be rewarded – with stickers in a school reading diary for example. Those children who read because they enjoy it read more books, and read more widely too. So giving your child a love of books helps expand their horizons.</p> <p><strong>2. It can build confidence</strong></p> <p>Children judge their own ability to read from observing their classroom peers, and from conversations with parents and teachers. When sharing a book, and giving positive feedback, parents can help children develop what is known as self-efficacy – a perceived ability to complete the specific activity at hand. Self-efficacy has been shown to be <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.02056/full">important for word reading</a>. Children who think they cannot read will be less inclined to try, but by using targeted praise while reading together, parents can help children develop belief in their own skills.</p> <p><strong>3. It can build positive reading attitudes</strong></p> <p>Studies have shown that the more opportunities a child has to engage with literacy based activities at home, the more positive their reading attitudes tend to be. Children are more likely to read in their leisure time if there is another member of the family that reads, <a href="https://ila.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1598/JAAL.48.3.1">creating a reading community</a> the child feels they belong to. Parental beliefs and actions are related to children’s own motivations to read, though of course it is likely that this relationship is bidirectional –- parents are <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0708-5591.49.2.89">more likely to suggest reading activities</a> if they know that their child has enjoyed them in the past.</p> <p><strong>4. It expands their language</strong></p> <p>When reading a book together, children are exposed to a wide range of language. In the early stages of literacy development this is extremely important. Good language development is the foundation to literacy development after all, and increased language exposure is one of the fundamental benefits of shared book reading.</p> <p>Shared book reading early on can have a long-term benefit by increasing vocabulary skills. And if they encounter a word they don’t understand, they have a grown up on hand to explain it to them in a way that makes sense to them. When children are taught to read while sharing a book, it can improve alphabet knowledge, decoding skills, spelling, and other book-related knowledge (such as how to actually read a book). Doing something as simple as sounding out the letters of a word they do not understand can vastly improve a child’s skills.</p> <p><strong>5. It can help their speech and language awareness</strong></p> <p>Formal shared reading can also involve the use of intonation, rhythm and pauses to model what is known as prosody. This is not a skill that is directly taught, but by simply pausing when needed or changing the tone of your voice can help children develop fluency when reading aloud. This is one of the reasons that shared book reading is not just for pre-schoolers. Demonstrating what is involved in reading complex text aloud fluently is very valuable for children of all ages.</p> <p>You don’t need a lot of money, or even hours of spare time to read with children. Even small efforts can have big benefits. Nor does it have to be just at bedtime. Sharing a book, a magazine or a comic can take place any time of the day.</p> <p>The most important thing to remember is to have fun. Interest in reading emerges from enjoying it with a parent. If you’re interested and make an effort, it can have a huge impact on a child’s engagement with reading.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/99046/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Emma Vardy, Research Associate, Psychology of Education, Coventry University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/fives-ways-that-reading-with-children-helps-their-education-99046"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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4 ways to read more books

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some of us may be familiar with the experience of buying books only to leave them on the bedside table, waiting to be finished. With all the distractions in our world today, it can indeed be hard to commit our attention and dive into the pages properly. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some practical tips can help you make reading a part of your everyday life with little to no effort. Here are some of the ideas you can try to help you read more and become a consistent page-turner.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Always keep a book nearby</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The idea is to make reading the easiest, most practical choice you can make. Whether you are chilling in the living room or winding down in the bedroom, place some reading material within your sight. Install your bookshelf at a spot you frequent around the home. Sneak a book or an e-reader into your bag whenever you go out, so that you can enjoy that novel you’ve been meaning to complete instead of scrolling through your social media feed on your commute. If you enjoy audiobooks, invest in a speaker or other device that can keep you on track as you do your activities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s also helpful to make your environment more reading-friendly. Identify potential distractions – which may include a TV or mobile phone – and keep them at bay wherever possible.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Prepare a reading list</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Create a list of books you are interested in and load up, so that you have a new read ready every time you are done with an old one.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Don’t know what to read? Check out online reviews on Goodreads or online bookshops such as Amazon to find recommendations. Alternatively, visit your local bookstore and consult the “staff picks” or the best-seller section. You can also sift through celebrities’ lists – try </span><a href="https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Best-Books-2018"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bill Gates</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><a href="http://www.oprah.com/app/books.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Oprah Winfrey</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> or </span><a href="https://hello-sunshine.com/book-club"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reese Witherspoon</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Keep things dynamic</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your bookshelf might feel like a fixed part of your home, an object of history that should not be tampered with. However, a new perspective can help you boost your reading rate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Author of </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Happiness Equation </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Neil Pasricha recommends thinking of your shelf as a “</span><a href="https://hbr.org/2017/02/8-ways-to-read-a-lot-more-books-this-year"><span style="font-weight: 400;">dynamic organism</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">” that is continuously “moving” and “changing”. His method is to add five new books and remove three to four of the old ones every once in a while. This way, you can start to view the shelf as an everlasting source of new stimulation instead of a static object that you could just walk past by.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Keeping your collection dynamic doesn’t have to be expensive – try a book swap with family members or friends, or borrow some reads from the local library. Your local area might also have a book sharing initiative, where you can take and leave books from a designated shared spot with your neighbours and community members.</span></p> <p><strong>4. Lean into your taste</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are moments when you want to like a book, but can’t really get into it no matter how much you try. If reading that copy of </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ulysses </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">or </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Infinite Jest</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> feels more like a chore than a leisure,</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">don’t feel guilty about ditching them. You may return to said books in the future and find them a lot more engrossing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Otherwise, you can try powering through these books to learn more about your reading preferences. Try building up your endurance by setting a goal – for example, reading 30 pages or three chapters in one sitting. If you still find yourself disliking the books, think about what makes them unappealing to you: is it the prose style, the setting, the themes or the genre? From there, you can find other titles that align more closely with what you enjoy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is good to challenge yourself with books that are out of your usual digs – but if the goal is to become a consistent reader, start by trusting your taste.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Do you have any tips to read more? Share with us in the comments below.</span></p>

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Prince William makes emotional plea ahead of new book

<p>Prince William has issued a heart-warming and inspiring plea in light of a new book about conservation.</p> <p>The Duke of Cambridge, 36, has dedicated a large portion of his time to help conserve rhinos, elephants and other endangered species targeted and impacted by illegal trade in wildlife.</p> <p>His public work has been particularly focused on the protection of wildlife species, and in a thoughtful plea, the Prince has written about the importance of protecting these special creatures.</p> <p>In the book, the 37-year-old Duke wrote about his passion for preserving the existence of elephants in an emotional foreword for a new book titled The Last Elephants.</p> <p>“I’m not prepared to be part of a generation that lets these iconic species disappear and have to explain to our children why we lost this battle when we had the tools to win it,” he wrote ahead of the book’s release.</p> <p>Furthermore, the Prince heartbreakingly points out that elephants are heading towards “extinction at the hands of poachers, criminal” gangs and traffickers.</p> <p>The royal member also added: “At the current pace of illegal poaching, when Charlotte turns 25 the African elephant could be gone from the wild.”</p> <p>The book, set to release in April, celebrates the magnificent lives of elephants and focuses on the worrying fact their existence is dwindling.</p> <p>Over 1 million elephants roamed Africa in 1982 when the Prince was born and today, just 350,000 remain.</p> <p>He also added the crisis does not just surround animals, but endangered families as well.</p> <p>“It is families in the world’s most vulnerable regions who suffer when two rangers a week are killed on the frontline of this fight,” the Duke wrote.</p> <p>“It is fragile democratic systems in many nations that are at risk from the source of war violence and corruption that the illegal wildlife trade funds and fuels.”</p> <p>Prince William is the president of <em>United for Wildlife,</em> an organisation which forms coalitions of campaigning groups to fight for the lives of endangered species.</p>

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Olivia Newton-John opens up about Hollywood romance with bad-boy legend

<p>Olivia Newton-John has opened up about her life in a tel all memoir called <em>Don’t Stop Believin’</em>, which was released on Tuesday.</p> <p>The 70-year-old, who shot to fame and stardom after her role of Sandy in the 1978 film <em>Grease</em>, has detailed her heartbreaking losses and struggles, romances and everything in between.</p> <p>In what should have been the happiest time in her life instead was filled with heartbreak and sorrow as she suffered her first miscarriage shortly before she was married to Matt Lattanzi in 1982.</p> <p>The singer and actress has detailed her romantic and steamy love affairs throughout her life, and this includes a mysterious Hollywood legend.</p> <p>Although Newton-John refuses to put a name and face to the secretive romance she shared with a “Hollywood bad-boy legend with a long list of girlfriends,” she did drop a few massive hints.</p> <p>She recounts she met the actor in a coffee shop and when asked out, point-blank refused.</p> <p>The reason? He was dating her friend Susan George, an English actress, film producer and Arabian horse breeder.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/media/7824822/untitled-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/a6b21981385f40d3ae6215ad32276d9f" /></p> <p>At the time, Olivia was staying with Susan and her sister, Rona, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel when the ‘bad boy’ called up to speak with Susan who was not in the room.</p> <p>Susan had her share of celebrity boyfriends including Andy Gibb, Rod Stewart and Peter Sellers.</p> <p>But when he asked Newton-John out again, she said yes. </p> <p>“He was my first major movie star encounter! His name? I'll never tell,” she wrote in <em>Don’t Stop Believin’</em>.</p> <p>Growing up in Australia after moving from Cambridge, England in the 1950s, the actress loved hiding in the alcove of her childhood home as a little girl and adored watching her parents leave for evening events with glamorous friends.</p> <p>Luckily for her, there were nights she would be allowed to travel downstairs amongst her parents and their socialite friends, writing she would rush to light their cigarettes for them.</p> <p>“I liked the smell of the sulphur of the match and the burning tobacco and paper,” she explained.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="/media/7824819/gettyimages-106847776.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ae4fac6888454a689fe59af5a91b2a09" /></p> <p>“I must have associated comfort with smoke, although now I know cigarettes and second-hand smoke are toxic for your health.”</p> <p>When she was just nine years old, a younger Newton-John was offered a whole pack of cigarettes by her mother.</p> <p>“[I] thought this was a splendid idea. I sparked up a cigarette.”</p> <p>Her adverse reaction to the tobacco had left her swearing off it for the rest of her life after taking a deep breath per her mother’s suggestion – only to end up in a violent coughing fit.</p> <p>“I can still remember my father's smoke lingering on the sleeves of my pink cotton PJs. I'd go to sleep smelling him with my nose pressed to my pyjama sleeve,” she wrote.</p> <p>Her father’s death in 1992 from liver cancer should have sent Olivia into a downward spiral –however, she flourished.</p> <p>“Honestly, I had thought that I would retire, that it was the end of my career, but music kept appearing to me in my head and in my heart,” the 70-year-old explained.</p> <p>“I didn't retreat from my career but rather I went through the fire and reinvented it.”</p> <p>The <em>Grease</em> star also recounted her struggles with the first bout of cancer that was devastatingly realised on the weekend her father passed.</p> <p>This was also a time when her first marriage with Lattanzi began to break down and recalls a specific instance where her doctor had asked her an uneasy question regarding troubles with a man due to some people believing “cancer in the right breast corresponds to a male figure".</p> <p><span>Despite the rollercoaster year that overwhelmed her in 1995, the actress found love again in her second husband, John Easterling, who she met while walking the Great Wall of China.</span></p> <p>“True love found me when I wasn't looking,” she wrote.</p> <p>The couple married in 2008.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/media/7824824/onj.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b0fb4feec170469b9120ff08c09da3e7" /><em>Olivia and her husband, John. Image: Instagram @therealonj</em></p> <p>Despite the crazy love life in her younger years that saw rumours swirling around that she was romantically linked to Hollywood giants, including Dustin Hoffman, Roger Moore and John Travolta, Newton-John says she laughs at it all now.</p> <p>Even the “rumours that I was a lesbian, even though I had been married or had a boyfriend through most of my career".</p> <p>Newtown-John and Easterling currently live in a ranch in Southern California.</p> <p>Swipe through the gallery to see Olivia Newton John through the years.</p> <p>Are you interested to read Olivia Newton-John's new tell-all memoir,<span> </span><em>Don't Stop Believin'</em>? Tell us in the comments below.  </p>

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