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Man books 58 flights for free

<p dir="ltr">A Jetstar passenger has become locked in a legal battle with the Aussie airline after exploiting a promotion to get 58 flights for free. </p> <p dir="ltr">Lawyer Tyrone Barugh was one of many travellers who made use of Jetstar’s promotion that offered people a free return fare.</p> <p dir="ltr">Barugh booked a flight from Auckland to Sydney for $260 and received the free return, although he soon cancelled the outbound flight and was given credit with the airline. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, he did not cancel the return trip. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Barugh then used the credit to book another flight, before doing the same thing a further 57 times.</p> <p dir="ltr">The would-be passenger told <em>n</em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/travel/man-locked-in-tribunal-battle-with-jetstar-after-booking-58-free-flights/news-story/1e3f67324c952ce232f3a583575d7ddc"><em>ews.com.au</em></a> that he had not planned to board any of the flights, and has taken Jetstar to the Disputes Tribunal of New Zealand, claiming he is entitled to approximately $4,500 in taxes owed on the flights.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They’re [Jetstar] not out here with the most saintly of intentions,” he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“They have terms and conditions that are designed to potentially avoid having to do the right thing by a lot of their customers and limit their liability to their customers, and they’re pretty happy to pull those out when it suits them.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He claims he is owed the money as he has paid the Passenger Movement Charge,  which is a $60 fee the Australian Government collects when a person leaves the country. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Barugh says he would accept a settlement of a “small flight credit and a toy plane”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There is a spirit of larrikinism,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">A spokesman for Jetstar declined to comment on the case, saying, “As this is a matter before the Tribunal, we won’t be making any comment.” </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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10 questions you must ask before booking a tour

<p>A tour can be a memorable experience, for the right and wrong reasons. Here are 10 questions you must ask yourself before booking one on your next holiday.</p> <p><strong>1. Are there minimum or maximum group sizes?</strong></p> <p>This applies for two reasons. Firstly, you need to decide how many people you’d like to travel with. Small group tours will have no more than a dozen or so while larger tours could be up to 50. The size will drastically impact your tour experience, affecting everything from the mode of transport to the type of meals. Secondly, you need to know if there’s a minimum group size needed for the tour to run. If you’re the only one who books you may find it cancelled.</p> <p><strong>2. What is your cancellation/refund policy?</strong></p> <p>As a rule of thumb, you should ask this question about any kind of travel you book before you hand over your cash. With a tour, make sure you find out their policies around inclement weather, too few passengers or if you need to cancel. And as always, travel insurance is your best friend.</p> <p><strong>3. Are you available for support throughout?</strong></p> <p>One of the good things about travelling with a tour is that you’ll have the services of at least one guide. It’s also good to know if the tour office itself is available for assistance when you’re on the road. This comes in handy if you have to make changes, get sick or are unhappy with the experience.</p> <p><strong>4. Do you have any reviews I can read?</strong></p> <p>If you can’t find the tour company on TripAdvisor or a similar review site, ask the company if they have any testimonials from previous customers. Before you make your final decision, it’s nice to know what other people have said about the tour and its style.</p> <p><strong>5. What experience/qualifications do the guides have?</strong></p> <p>Many tour companies now pride themselves on using locals or people who have lived in a country for many years to guide tours. You don’t want to be stuck with someone who just reads from a guidebook – you can do that yourself for half the price. Find out what they know before you go.</p> <p><strong>6. How active is it?</strong></p> <p>There is a huge spectrum when it comes to tours, ranging from coach journeys with very little walking to active treks where you cover hard ground every day. Make sure you find out exactly what will be involved and if that suits your abilities and fitness level. And be realistic – you and the tour group will suffer otherwise.</p> <p><strong>7. What is the demographic?</strong></p> <p>You don’t want to get stuck on a tour with a bunch of 25 year olds who are just looking for the pub. Most people prefer to travel with people around their own age and in similar demographics (such as solo travellers, seniors, families etc), so make sure you find out who is likely to be in your group before you book.</p> <p><strong>8. Is everything included or will I have to pay for extras?</strong></p> <p>You should be able to get a detailed break down of exactly what is – and what isn’t – included in the price. What looked like a good deal can quickly become very expensive if you have to pay for day excursions, admission fees, alcohol or other surprises.</p> <p><strong>9. How much time do you spend in each place?</strong></p> <p>Are you looking to tick many famous sites off your list or do you want to have the time to immerse yourself in a destination? When you’re looking at an itinerary, ask questions about how long you will actually be spending at each place to ensure that you get enough time to really enjoy it.</p> <p><strong>10. Will I get any free time on my own?</strong></p> <p>After many days as part of a group, it’s nice to have some time on your own. You can explore sites that aren’t on your itinerary, try a new restaurant or just have a well deserved nap. Find out how rigid the schedules are and if there will be some time to do your own thing.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Tips

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Rebel Wilson exposes A-lister who "threatened" her over book release

<p>Rebel Wilson has slammed a Hollywood A-lister for allegedly threatening her over the release of her new memoir. </p> <p>The Aussie actress is set to release her autobiography <em>Rebel Rising</em> on April 2nd, which details her rise to stardom from Australia to the US. </p> <p>In the book, she has dedicated a chapter to one particular actor who she had an unfortunate experience with on the set of a movie in 2014. </p> <p>Now, Rebel claims Sacha Baron-Cohen, husband of Aussie actress Isla Fisher, has "threatened" her about the release of such information in the upcoming book. </p> <p>Taking to her Instagram, Rebel named and shamed the actor, writing, “I will not be bullied or silenced with high priced lawyer or PR crisis managers. The ‘a**hole’ that I am talking about in ONE CHAPTER of my book is Sacha Baron Cohen.”</p> <p>"Now the a**hole is trying to threaten me. He’s trying to stop press coming out about my new book. But the book WILL come out and you will all know the truth.”</p> <p>Sacha Baron-Cohen was quick to release a statement in response to the allegations, with his representative sharing the statement with <a href="https://www.tmz.com/2024/03/25/rebel-wilson-calls-out-sacha-baron-cohen-book-memoir/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>TMZ</em></a>. </p> <p>“While we appreciate the importance of speaking out, these demonstrably false claims are directly contradicted by extensive detailed evidence, including contemporaneous documents, film footage, and eyewitness accounts from those present before, during and after the production of The Brothers Grimsby,” the statement said. </p> <p>Wilson and Baron-Cohen worked on the comedy film <em>The Brothers Grimsby</em> in 2014, where Rebel alleges that Baron-Cohen acted sexually inappropriate towards her for the duration of the shoot. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

Legal

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"Crossover of a lifetime": Bindi Irwin's exciting new career move

<p>Bindi Irwin has delighted fans with the news of an exciting new project. </p> <p>The wildlife warrior took to Instagram to share the news, which is set to be a hit with the whole family. </p> <p>The 25-year-old is following in the footsteps of many other Aussie celebrities, who have made their debut in the animated world of the hit children's TV show <em>Bluey</em>. </p> <p>Bindi announced that she will be narrating the new audiobook called <em>The Creek</em> for the <em>Bluey Book Reads </em>series, as the Bluey pandemonium continues around the world. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C33e0xUI6eY/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C33e0xUI6eY/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Bluey (@officialblueytv)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>She shared a picture of herself along with the words: “Introducing <em>The Creek</em>, read by Bindi Irwin,”, adding, “Love you Bluey and Bingo!” in the post caption.</p> <p>Fans were delighted by the news, excited to see the young mum take on work outside of Australia Zoo.</p> <p>“Crossover of a lifetime, are you kidding me?” one fan wrote. “I am so excited.”</p> <p>“WHAT 😍😍 the perfect combo!!” added a second.</p> <p>“OK, definitely need the Irwin’s on <em>Bluey</em>!!!!” wrote a third.</p> <p>Another mum said Bindi was now fulfilling a role for her children that Steve and Terri Irwin had performed for her when she was growing up.</p> <p>“(Bindi’s) parents ‘helped raise me’ through the TV, and now she and Chandler are doing the same for the next generation! ❤️,” the fan wrote.</p> <p>“Bindi, Bluey and Bingo, what a trio,” noted another.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p> <p> </p>

Books

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Who wrote the Bible?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/philip-c-almond-176214">Philip C. Almond</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p>The Bible tells an overall story about the history of the world: creation, fall, redemption and God’s Last Judgement of the living and the dead.</p> <p>The Old Testament (which dates to 300 BCE) begins with the creation of the world and of Adam and Eve, their disobedience to God and their expulsion from the garden of Eden.</p> <p>The New Testament recounts the redemption of humanity brought about by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It finishes in the book of Revelation, with the end of history and God’s Last Judgement.</p> <p>During the first 400 years of Christianity, the church took its time deciding on the New Testament. Finally, in 367 CE, authorities confirmed the 27 books that make it up.</p> <p>But who wrote the Bible?</p> <p>Broadly, there are four different theories.</p> <h2>1. God wrote the Bible</h2> <p>All Christians agree the Bible is authoritative. Many see it as the divinely revealed word of God. But there are significant disagreements about what this means.</p> <p>At its most extreme, this is taken to mean the words themselves are divinely inspired – God dictated the Bible to its writers, who were merely God’s musicians playing a divine composition.</p> <p>As early as the second century, the <a href="https://archive.org/details/fathersofchurch0000unse/page/382/mode/2up">Christian philosopher Justin Martyr saw it</a> as only necessary for holy men "to submit their purified persons to the direction of the Holy Spirit, so that this divine plectrum from Heaven, as it were, by using them as a harp or lyre, might reveal to us divine and celestial truths."</p> <p>In other words, God dictated the words to the Biblical secretaries, who wrote everything down exactly.</p> <p>This view continued with the medieval Catholic church. Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas put it simply in the 13th century: “the author of Holy Writ is God”. He <a href="https://www.ccel.org/ccel/aquinas/summa.FP_Q1_A10.html">qualified this</a> by saying each word in Holy Writ could have several senses – in other words, it could be variously interpreted.</p> <p>The religious reform movement known as Protestantism swept through Europe in the 1500s. <a href="https://www.britannica.com/event/Reformation">A new group of churches formed</a> alongside the existing Catholic and <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Eastern-Orthodoxy">Eastern Orthodox</a> traditions of Christianity.</p> <p>Protestants emphasised the authority of “scripture alone” (“sola scriptura”), meaning the text of the Bible was the supreme authority over the church. This gave greater emphasis to the scriptures and the idea of “divine dictation” got more support.</p> <p>So, for example, <a href="https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924029273996&amp;seq=254">Protestant reformer John Calvin declared</a>: "[we] are fully convinced that the prophets did not speak at their own suggestion, but that, being organs of the Holy Spirit, they only uttered what they had been commissioned from heaven to declare."</p> <figure class="align-left zoomable"><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>“Divine dictation” was linked to the idea that the Bible was without error (inerrant) – because the words were dictated by God.</p> <p>Generally, over the first 1,700 years of Christian history, this was assumed, if not argued for. But from the 18th century on, both history and science began to cast doubts on the truth of the Bible. And what had once been taken as fact came to be treated as myth and legend.</p> <p>The impossibility of any sort of error in the scriptures became a doctrine at the forefront of the 20th-century movement known as <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christian-fundamentalism">fundamentalism</a>. The <a href="https://www.apuritansmind.com/creeds-and-confessions/the-chicago-statement-on-biblical-inerrancy/">Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy in 1978</a> declared: "Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives."</p> <h2>2. God inspired the writers: conservative</h2> <p>An alternative to the theory of divine dictation is the divine inspiration of the writers. Here, both God and humans collaborated in the writing of the Bible. So, not the words, but the authors were inspired by God.</p> <p>There are two versions of this theory, dating from the <a href="https://www.britannica.com/event/Reformation">Reformation</a>. The conservative version, favoured by Protestantism, was: though the Bible was written by humans, God was a dominant force in the partnership.</p> <p>Protestants believed the sovereignty of God overruled human freedom. But even the Reformers, <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Martin-Luther">Martin Luther</a> and <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Calvin">John Calvin</a>, recognised variation within the Biblical stories could be put down to human agency.</p> <p>Catholics were more inclined to recognise human freedom above divine sovereignty. Some flirted with the idea human authorship was at play, with God only intervening to prevent mistakes.</p> <p>For example, in 1625, <a href="https://archive.org/details/catholictheories0000burt/page/46/mode/2up">Jacques Bonfrère said</a> the Holy Spirit acts: “not by dictating or inbreathing, but as one keeps an eye on another while he is writing, to keep him from slipping into errors”.</p> <p>In the early 1620s, the Archbishop of Split, Marcantonio de Dominis, went a little further. He distinguished between those parts of the Bible revealed to the writers by God and those that weren’t. In the latter, he believed, errors could occur.</p> <p>His view was supported some 200 years later by <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-John-Henry-Newman">John Henry Newman</a>, who led the Oxford movement in the Church of England and later became a cardinal (and then a saint) in the Roman Catholic Church.</p> <p>Newman argued the divinely inspired books of the Bible were interspersed with human additions. In other words, the Bible was inspired in matters of faith and morals –  but not, say, in matters of science and history. It was hard, at times, to distinguish this conservative view from “divine dictation”.</p> <h2>3. God inspired the writers: liberal</h2> <p>During the 19th century, in both Protestant and Catholic circles, the conservative theory was being overtaken by a more liberal view. The writers of the Bible were inspired by God, but <a href="https://archive.org/details/catholictheories0000burt/page/186/mode/2up">they were “children of their time”</a>, their writings determined by the cultural contexts in which they wrote.</p> <p>This view, while recognising the special status of the Bible for Christians, allowed for errors. For example, in 1860 <a href="https://archive.org/details/a578549600unknuoft/page/n359/mode/2up?ref=ol&amp;view=theater&amp;q=inspir">the Anglican theologian Benjamin Jowett declared</a>: “any true doctrine of inspiration must conform to all well-ascertained facts of history or of science”.</p> <p>For Jowett, to hold to the truth of the Bible against the discoveries of science or history was to do a disservice to religion. At times, though, it’s difficult to tell the difference between a liberal view of inspiration and there being no meaning to “inspiration” at all.</p> <p>In 1868, a conservative Catholic church pushed back against the more liberal view, declaring God’s direct authorship of the Bible. The Council of the Church known as Vatican 1 <a href="https://www.papalencyclicals.net/councils/ecum20.htm.">declared</a> both the Old and New Testaments were: “written under the inspiration of the holy Spirit, they have God as their author.”</p> <h2>4. People wrote it, with no divine help</h2> <p>Within the most liberal Christian circles, by the end of the 19th century, the notion of the Bible as “divinely inspired” had lost any meaning.</p> <p>Liberal Christians could join their secular colleagues in ignoring questions of the Bible’s historical or scientific accuracy or infallibility. The idea of the Bible as a human production was now accepted. And the question of who wrote it was now comparable to questions about the authorship of any other ancient text.</p> <p>The simple answer to “who wrote the Bible?” became: the authors named in the Bible (for example, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – the authors of the four Gospels). But the idea of the Bible’s authorship is complex and problematic. (So are historical studies of ancient texts more generally.)</p> <p>This is partly because it’s hard to identify particular authors.</p> <p>The content of the 39 books of the Old Testament is the same as the 24 books of the Jewish <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Hebrew-Bible">Hebrew Bible</a>. Within modern Old Testament studies, it’s now generally accepted that the books were not the production of a single author, but the result of long and changing histories of the stories’ transmission.</p> <p>The question of authorship, then, is not about an individual writer, but multiple authors, editors, scribes and redactors – along with multiple different versions of the texts.</p> <p>It’s much the same with the New Testament. While 13 Letters are attributed to <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Paul-the-Apostle">Saint Paul</a>, there are doubts about his authorship of seven of them (Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Hebrews). There are also disputes over the traditional authorship of a number of the remaining Letters. The book of Revelation was traditionally ascribed to Jesus’s disciple John. But it is now generally agreed he was not its author.</p> <p>Traditionally, the authors of the four <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Gospel-New-Testament">Gospels</a> were thought to be the apostles Matthew and John, Mark (the companion of Jesus’s disciple Peter), and Luke (the companion of Paul, who spread Christianity to the Greco-Roman world in the first century). But the anonymously written Gospels weren’t attributed to these figures until the second and third centuries.</p> <p>The dates of the Gospels’ creation also suggests they were not written by eyewitnesses to Jesus’s life. The earliest Gospel, Mark (65-70 CE) was written some 30 years after the death of Jesus (from 29-34 CE). The last Gospel, John (90-100 CE) was written some 60-90 years after the death of Jesus.</p> <p>It’s clear the author of the Gospel of Mark drew on traditions circulating in the early church about the life and teaching of Jesus and brought them together in the form of ancient biography.</p> <p>In turn, the Gospel of Mark served as the principal source for the authors of Matthew and Luke. Each of these authors had access to a common source (known as “Q”) of the sayings of Jesus, along with material unique to each of them.</p> <p>In short, there were many (unknown) authors of the Gospels.</p> <p>Interestingly, another group of texts, known as the <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/apocrypha">Apocrypha</a>, were written during the time between the Old and New Testaments (400 BCE to the first century CE). The Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Christian traditions consider them part of the Bible, but Protestant churches don’t consider them authoritative.</p> <h2>Divine or human: why does it matter?</h2> <p>The question of who wrote the Bible matters because the Christian quarter of the world’s population believe the Bible is a not merely a human production.</p> <p>Divinely inspired, it has a transcendent significance. As such, it provides for Christians an ultimate understanding of how the world is, what history means and how human life should be lived.</p> <p>It matters because the Biblical worldview is the hidden (and often not-so-hidden) cause of economic, social and personal practices. It remains, as it has always been, a major source of both peace and conflict.</p> <p>It matters, too, because the Bible remains the most important collection of books in Western civilisation. Regardless of our religious beliefs, it has formed, informed and shaped all of us – whether consciously or unconsciously, for good or ill.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/214849/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/philip-c-almond-176214"><em>Philip C. Almond</em></a><em>, Emeritus Professor in the History of Religious Thought, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/who-wrote-the-bible-214849">original article</a>.</em></p>

Books

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Readers Respond: What's a book you love that most people have never heard of?

<p>Looking for a new book to kickstart your year?  Look no further we've got you covered. </p> <p>Here are a few of our reader's book recommendations that you may not have heard of. </p> <p><strong>Ruth Fontaine</strong> - I’m reading <em>We of the Never Never </em>atm. Not sure if it’s still well known. I’ve read it before but awhile back and love it. I love reading how they lived nearly 120 years ago. </p> <p><strong>Elaine Rosenberg</strong> - <em>The Abbey Girls Series</em> by Elsie J Oxenham.</p> <p><strong>Maryika Welter</strong> - <em>The courage to be disliked.</em> ... Furmitake Kogan, Ichiro Kishimi.</p> <p><strong>Janice Stewart</strong> - <em>A Fortunate Life</em> by Albert Facey</p> <p><strong>Suzanne Midson</strong> - <em>On Our Selection</em> by Steele Rudd. Read it when I was about 10/12. Best laugh ever. Australian humour at its best.</p> <p><strong>Julie Anderson</strong> - <em>Episode of Sparrows</em> by Rumor Goddin </p> <p><strong>Nancie Golsby</strong> - <em>The Half Burned Tree</em> by Dympna Cusack</p> <p><strong>June Maynard</strong> - Sahara, by Paula Constant. Preceded by Slow Journey South. A thrilling, actual account of her adventure.</p> <p><strong>Peter Rayner </strong>- <em>Enforcer</em> by Caesar Campbell</p> <p><strong>Meg Milton</strong> - <em>I Heard the Owl Call My Name</em> by Margaret Craven</p> <p><strong>Edie Dore</strong> - <em>The Curious Incident of the Dog </em>in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.</p> <p><strong>Christine Cornforth</strong> - <em>A Grief Observed</em> by CS Lewis. </p> <p><strong>Wendy Oliver</strong> - <em>The Good Earth</em> by Pearl Buck</p> <p>Do you have any other recommendations that we might have missed?</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

Books

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Surprise choice for "Word of the Year"

<p>The Oxford University Press has named its word of the year, and the results are not what you expect. </p> <p>From "Swiftie" (an evid Taylor Swift fan), "situationship" (an informal romantic or sexual relationship)  and "prompt" (an instruction given to an AI program), it's clear that this year's line up was heavily influenced by Gen Z. </p> <p>This year's winner truly speaks volumes about the impact of the younger generation, after results from a public vote reveal that "Rizz" is the word of the year. </p> <p>Rizz is believed to come from the middle of the word charisma, and it is often used to describe someone's ability to attract or seduce someone else. </p> <p>The publishers of the Oxford English Dictionary also said that it can be used as a verb as in to "rizz up"  which means to attract or chat someone up. </p> <p>"It speaks to how younger generations create spaces — online or in person — where they own and define the language they use," the publisher said.</p> <p>"From activism to dating and wider culture, as Gen Z comes to have more impact on society, differences in perspectives and lifestyle play out in language, too."</p> <p>In a news release,  Oxford Languages President Casper Grathwohl said: "Rizz is a term that has boomed on social media, and speaks to how language that enjoys intense popularity and currency within particular social communities — and even in some cases lose their popularity and become passé — can bleed into the mainstream."</p> <p>One of the first instances of a celebrity using it, was when earlier this year <em>Spiderman</em> star Tom Holland said that he had "no rizz whatsoever", during an interview with <em>BuzzFeed</em>. </p> <p>"I have limited rizz," he said at the time, joking about his relationship with co-star Zendaya. </p> <p>Rizz was one of eight words that made it to the shortlist, which included a few other words like: “beige flag”, “parasocial”, “heat dome” and “de-influencing”. </p> <p>Rizz is heavily used online with the hashtag racking up billions of views on TikTok.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

Books

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Second “royal racist” accidentally named in new book

<p>A second member of the royal family has been accused of being "racist", after the bombshell royal exposé implied them in the scandal over baby Archie's skin colour. </p> <p>In Omid Scobie's new book <em>Endgame</em>, he discusses the comments that members of the royal family made to Meghan Markle when she was pregnant with baby Archie. </p> <p>Markle first shared the bombshell allegations in her tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, but she refused to name the royal family member who made the comments, saying, “I think that would be very damaging to them.”</p> <p>On Wednesday, reports emerged that copies of the book were being <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/books/new-royal-book-pulled-from-shelves-over-huge-legal-blunder" target="_blank" rel="noopener">pulled from shelves</a> as the Dutch translation of the book accidentally named the person involved in the scandal.</p> <p>Omid Scobie admitted he does know who made the comments, but UK libel laws prevented him from naming them in the book. </p> <p>Now, as copies of the tell-all book have been flying off shelves, it seems another member of the royal family has been implicated in the book, which is now said to be frantically being pulled from shelves.</p> <p>It comes after Mr Scobie denied responsibility for the Dutch translation of his new book “accidentally naming” a member of the Royal Family.</p> <p>Publishers Xander Uitgevers yesterday said they were seeking to remove Mr Scobie’s work from bookshelves saying there had been an “error”.</p> <p>Speaking to Dutch TV on Wednesday night, Mr Scobie defended his book, saying, “The book is in several languages, and unfortunately I do not speak Dutch”.</p> <p>“But if there are translation errors, I’m sure the publishers will have it under control."</p> <p>“I wrote and edited the English version. There’s never been no version that I’ve produced that has names in it.”</p> <p>In the English version, Mr Scobie writes, “In the pages of these private letters [given to Oprah by Markle], two identities were revealed. UK laws prevent me from reporting who they were”.</p> <p>But the Dutch version reads, “In those private letters, an identity was revealed and confirmed” — before going on to name a senior royal.</p> <p>Dutch royal reporter Rick Evers says he was one of only two journalists to be given a manuscript of <em>Endgame</em> last Wednesday.</p> <p>Mr Evers said, “I was shocked that no one else in the world mentioned the fact that a member of the royals was named in the book as the racist”.</p> <p>“That was the main accusation in the book that I noticed and what I put in my (review) article, which was published with a photo of that royal."</p> <p>“I began to question if it was only my manuscript that had the name in it. I went to get the book from a store and it was exactly the same,” Mr Evers said.</p> <p>“A woman called from the publisher saying there was a legal problem and my article had to be removed.”</p> <p>It is unclear how the error occurred, but Mr Scobie confirmed that the first royal family member named in the book is not the one stated in the letters from Meghan Markle. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Legal

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New royal book pulled from shelves over huge legal blunder

<p>Copies of an explosive new book about the royal family are being pulled from shelves and destroyed after a translation error "accidentally named" the alleged "royal racist". </p> <p>Sales of the new book <em>Endgame</em>, written by Omid Scobie who also wrote <em>Finding Freedom</em> about Harry and Meghan's exit from the royal family, were "temporarily" put on hold just days after its release after what has been labelled an error. </p> <p>According to Xander, the publishers of the Dutch edition of Scobie's book, a translation error led to a member of the royal family being identified as the person who made comments about baby Archie's skin colour. </p> <p>“[We are] temporarily withdrawing the book by Omid Scobie from sale. An error occurred in the Dutch translation and is currently being rectified,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.</p> <p>Meanwhile, <em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/royals/24884315/royal-racist-accidentally-named-omid-scobie/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Sun</a></em> claims that thousands of copies of the book are now being destroyed as a result.</p> <p>The "racist royal" scandal dates back to when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down with Oprah Winfrey for a tell-all interview in 2021, when Markle  alleged that while she was pregnant with their first child, Prince Archie, there were “concerns and conversations” from a member of the royal family about how dark his skin might be.</p> <p>The Duchess of Sussex stopped short of naming the person involved, telling Winfrey, “I think that would be very damaging to them.”</p> <p>In the original edition of his book, Scobie also declines to identify the royal, claiming libel laws prevented him from doing so – although he has confirmed he knows who it is.</p> <p>“I do know who made the comments about Archie’s skin colour,” he told UK program <em>Good Morning</em> during his book press tour.</p> <p>“The names were mentioned in letters between Meghan and Charles that were exchanged sometime after the Oprah interview."</p> <p>“We know from sources that Charles was horrified that that’s how Meghan felt. Those conversations were, and that he wanted to, sort of as a representative for the family, have that conversation with her.</p> <p>“And it is why I personally think they have been able to move forward with some kind of line of communication afterwards. Though they may not see eye-to-eye on it.”</p> <p>It’s understood the royal family member accidentally named in the Dutch edition was not the person Meghan had been referring to.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Harper Collins</em></p>

Books

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8 signs you should be booking a group tour

<p>Not sure if you should take a tour or go it alone? These are the times you’re going to want that expert on hand.</p> <p><strong>1. When you’re on a really tight schedule</strong></p> <p>A tour will help you squeeze in as much as possible in a very short time. It will plan out a sensible itinerary with no backtracking or wasted journeys and will give you a realistic idea of how much you can fit in for a day. Plus you won’t have to puzzle out public transport for yourself.</p> <p><strong>2. When you’re feeling nervous</strong></p> <p>Arriving in a new place can be scary sometimes, so having someone to walk you through it will make all the difference. If a city has a reputation for being unsafe or if it’s just your first time in a foreign country, a tour will give you a great worry-free introduction.</p> <p><strong>3. When there’s a big language barrier</strong></p> <p>We’re lucky in that much of the world speaks English, so we can usually muddle our way around. But in some countries you’ll find there’s a significant language barrier, so having a native speaker is going to make all the difference.</p> <p><strong>4. When you want to meet some locals</strong></p> <p>This might sound counterintuitive, but an organised tour can be one of the best ways to meet some locals. First of all, your guide is likely to be local and can introduce you to their hometown. Secondly, it’s daunting to walk into a crowded bar or cool café when you don’t know anyone. A guide can smooth the way and ensure you don’t get stuck in tourist traps.</p> <p><strong>5. When it’s really busy</strong></p> <p>If you don’t fancy joining the huge line outside a popular museum or waiting hours for tickets, a tour could be the way to go. They can often organise private or after hours visits, get special passes to cut the line or take you to areas that are off limits to the general public.</p> <p><strong>6. When it’s the law</strong></p> <p>Want to visit North Korea? You’re going to need to join a tour. Some governments have restrictions in place that mean foreign tourists can only visit when accompanied by a registered tour guide and independent travel is simply not an option.</p> <p><strong>7. When you’re doing something really adventurous</strong></p> <p>Trekking, white water rafting, canyoning or safaris – for safety reasons you’re going to need to join a tour. These kinds of activities can be dangerous, so you don’t want to be risking them on your own. A tour or private guide will show you the best way to get your heart pumping.</p> <p><strong>8. When you’re going right off the grid</strong></p> <p>Places like Antarctica, the Arctic, remote corners of Africa or tricky countries like Russia are best done on a tour. Often the logistics of simply getting there are impossible for the independent traveller or you will need help navigating the complex visa process. In these instances, it’s a relief to put yourself in someone else’s hands and just concentrate on having fun.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Tips

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"I still can't fathom it": Wendy Harmer names and shames inappropriate guest

<p>Wendy Harmer has named and shamed the high-profile comedian who would regularly expose his genitals to her during an ongoing radio prank. </p> <p>Recalling the X-rated moments in her new memoir <em>Lies My Mirror Told Me</em>, the 68-year-old broadcasting veteran revealed that her former 2Day FM co-host, comedian Jamie Dunn would consistently expose himself as a joke. </p> <p>Harmer recalled how she never found the joke amusing nor sexual in nature, writing, "I suspect Jamie was a bit of a naturist."</p> <p>"I still can't fathom why he would do it as a gag on radio," she said, later confirming that she saw Dunn's penis "more times" than she "cared to remember". </p> <p>Harmer recalled the "joke" in detail, while her former co-host, Paul Holmes, also shared his experience in the memoir, saying he never understood the reasoning behind the bizarre prank.</p> <p>Holmes wrote, "He'd drop his dacks, exposing his penis, raise his hands in the air and strike a pose."</p> <p>When approached by the <em>Sydney Morning Herald</em> for comment, Dunn, who was best known for voicing and operating the children's puppet Agro, admitted to exposing himself "once or twice" as a "harmless joke". </p> <p>In her memoir, Harmer went on to detail the early days of her career in the male-dominated media industry, and shared how she very quickly learned to stand up for herself. </p> <p>“I was a kid, I soon developed a more assertive attitude ... Many men I have worked with have said I’m a bit scary, they’re usually the ones who got second billing,” Harmer told the <em>Sydney Morning Herald</em>.</p> <p>“Certainly, I would not like my daughter to have gone through some of the things I went through in the workplace.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Books

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The unexpected health benefits of reading

<p>Not only does reading expand your mind but it also comes with many health benefits. So next time you lose hours (or days) of your life chomping through a novel, don’t feel so bad because you’re doing yourself the following favours.</p> <p><strong>It reduces stress</strong></p> <p>According to a 2009 study from the University of Sussex, reading for just six minutes can reduce stress levels by up to 68 per cent. Researchers found that silently reading to yourself slows down heart rate and eases muscle tension, and it achieves this more effectively than other relaxing activities such as listening to music or having a cuppa.</p> <p><strong>It refines brain function</strong></p> <p>A 2014 study published in Brain Connectivity found reading fiction improves reader’s ability to flex the imagination and “puts the reader in the body of the protagonist”, increasing a person’s emotional intelligence and ability to be compassionate.</p> <p><strong>It helps your memory</strong></p> <p>In her landmark paper "What Reading Does For The Mind", psychologist Dr. Anne Cunningham concluded, “reading is a very rich and complex and cognitive act.” She found the benefits of reading become reciprocal – reading helps your brain retain information over time (as every time you read, you create a new memory), which in turns makes you read better, which in turn make you sharper and smarter.</p> <p><strong>It enhances mental agility in old age</strong></p> <p>The 2013 study from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago measured memory and thinking in over 200 participants aged 55 and over, annually for six years until their deaths. The participants answered the same questions about whether they read books, wrote letters and took part in other mentally stimulating activities.</p> <p>The researchers found that those who kept their brain busy had a rate of cognitive decline estimated at 15 per cent slower than those who did not.</p> <p>“Based on this, we shouldn't underestimate the effects of everyday activities, such as reading and writing, on our children, ourselves and our parents or grandparents,” says study author Robert. S. Wilson, Ph.D.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Books

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Booking customers on flights that were cancelled – how could Qantas do that?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/volodymyr-bilotkach-145437">Volodymyr Bilotkach</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/purdue-university-1827">Purdue University</a></em></p> <p>Fining Qantas <a href="https://www.atn.aero/#/article.html?id=87951">A$600 million</a> if it is found to have knowingly sold so-called “ghost flights” would be fair, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.</p> <p>The commission this week <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/accc-takes-court-action-alleging-qantas-advertised-flights-it-had-already-cancelled">launched action</a> in the Federal Court alleging Qantas engaged in false, misleading or deceptive conduct by selling tickets on flights that had already been cancelled, and not informing passengers of cancellations in a timely manner.</p> <p>The regulator’s charges against the airline, which last month reported a record <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/aug/24/qantas-delivers-record-247bn-profit">$2.47 billion profit</a>, have precipitated the early exit of longtime chief executive Alan Joyce, who quit this week two months ahead of schedule. This court challenge will certainly add to the workload of his successor, Vanessa Hudson.</p> <p>Qantas <a href="https://www.atn.aero/#/article.html?id=87951">has acknowledged</a> that service standards might have slipped as the airline was struggling to recover after the pandemic.</p> <p>The nature of the oversights that led to the airline’s errors will determine the airline’s liability – both to the consumer regulator and to individual claims for compensation.</p> <p>Importantly, the case also points to the need for greater regulatory protection of the airline’s passengers, in line with other jurisdictions.</p> <h2>How did Qantas get in this mess?</h2> <p>The short answer, most likely, is that the carrier did not handle flight cancellations promptly due to the sheer volume of work and labour shortages as it sought to resume operations following the end of pandemic restrictions.</p> <p>The consumer regulator’s allegations relate specifically to May and June 2022. Australia lifted many of its COVID-related travel restrictions in <a href="https://www.voanews.com/a/australia-lifts-covid-restrictions-and-welcomes-travelers-/6451955.html">March</a>, and travellers entering the country <a href="https://www.travelpulse.com/news/destinations/australia-lifts-remaining-covid-19-travel-restrictions">after July 6</a> were not required to show proof of vaccination. The airline was trying to bring its planes back into service and hire or retrain its employees, and generally was struggling to get back to more or less normal operations.</p> <p>In its statement, the competition watchdog noted the carrier cancelled nearly one in four flights scheduled during that period; and for two out of three cancelled flights it either continued selling tickets or failed to inform the passengers –sometimes for extended periods of time – or both.</p> <p>Flight cancellations are a normal part of an airline’s operations. However, the “usual” cancellation rate is <a href="https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/air-travel-consumer-report-march-2023-and-1st-quarter-2023-numbers#:%7E:text=DOT%20remains%20committed%20to%20ensuring,first%20three%20months%20of%202022.">less than 2%</a>, less than a tenth of what Qantas experienced in May and June 2022. What is unusual is that Qantas did not immediately remove cancelled flights from its booking system. This is something I have never heard of.</p> <p>One also suspects the airline has had enough “practice” with schedule adjustment during the pandemic to know better. There are clearly gaps in the carrier’s management. It has lessons to learn from this debacle.</p> <h2>What is Qantas’ liability?</h2> <p>The question of the extent of the airline’s liability is not straightforward. Obviously, a business willingly selling a product or service it has no intention to deliver is at fault, and has to face consequences.</p> <p>At the same time, a business selling a product that has defects it is unaware of, despite doing its best to prevent such defects from occurring, will face certain costs (such as those associated with a product recall) but may be spared sanctions.</p> <p>The onus will be on Qantas to demonstrate it made an honest mistake rather than a lapse of judgement. But considering the scale of the problem, the airline faces a very difficult task here.</p> <h2>Individual claims pending</h2> <p>As well as a potential fine, Qantas should brace for a flood of claims from individual passengers who bought a ticket for an already cancelled flight or were not informed in a timely manner.</p> <p>Timing will be of the essence here. If a passenger incurred expenses assuming the flight was operating when it had already been cancelled, such as making a non-refundable hotel reservation, there is a case to request compensation for such expenses.</p> <p>Otherwise, the standard policy will apply: the airline is not usually responsible for any non-refundable and uninsured expenses a passenger incurs prior to the flight cancellation.</p> <h2>Closing the regulatory gap</h2> <p>The regulator should, however, also take a closer look at the existing air passenger rights in Australia.</p> <p>Currently, <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/specific-products-and-activities/travel-delays-and-cancellations">the consumer is entitled to replacement or refund</a> if an airline does not provide services “in a reasonable time” - that is, in the event of a lengthy delay or a flight cancellation. However, the definition of “reasonable time” and the specifics of the compensation policies are left to the airlines.</p> <p>In other parts of the world, actions have been or are being taken to strengthen customer protection. For instance, in <a href="https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/air/index_en.htm">the European Union</a>, lengthy delays that are the airlines’ fault lead to the carriers paying out cash compensation as well as the cost of accommodation and meals.</p> <p>Similar regulations <a href="https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/dot-propose-requirements-airlines-cover-expenses-and-compensate-stranded-passengers">were proposed in the United States</a> earlier this year.</p> <p>Perhaps, if stronger consumer protection rules had been in place in Australia in 2022, Qantas would have managed the aftermath of flight cancellations more diligently.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/212793/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/volodymyr-bilotkach-145437">Volodymyr Bilotkach</a>, Associate Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/purdue-university-1827">Purdue University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/booking-customers-on-flights-that-were-cancelled-how-could-qantas-do-that-212793">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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How to write a memoir

<p><strong>How to start a memoir</strong></p> <p><em>My Story </em>by Russell Durling is my 85-year-old father’s account of the highlights of his life. He is writing and editing it, by hand, in several notepads I gave him as a Christmas gift to encourage the memoir project he had talked about for years.</p> <p>In it, my dad shares stories of summer jobs when he was a teenager, breaking up log jams on the Saint John River near his hometown of Meductic, New Brunswick. He’d move from log to floating log to reach shore again safely – and he loved every minute of this adventure, even when he’d land in the water.</p> <p>Reading an early draft, I learned new details of his history, like how when they were children, his cousin Clara had a pet crow. He also wrote about lessons learned from his Royal Canadian Mounted Police career, which was spent mostly in Nova Scotia, and shared insights about how to retire well. Pro tip from my father: to add a decade to your life, ditch the city (if you can).</p> <p>This memoir will be a treasure for our family, and I’m glad my father was finally able to start writing it, after spending a long time talking about wanting to. And I get it. Writing your life story can feel like a daunting project. But it’s worth it, both to the writer and their potential readers. If you’re having a hard time putting pen to paper, here’s advice on how to start a memoir.</p> <p><strong>First, ask yourself why you're writing a memoir </strong></p> <p>Esmeralda Cabral is a writer who works with people who wouldn’t normally consider themselves writers through her workshop, <em>Writing Your Life</em>. Often, she helps people create written treasures for their families, and sometimes they’re writing just for themselves. To her, and those she teaches, memoir writing can be a way of remembering and reflecting on experiences both positive and negative.</p> <p>“There is a clarity that comes when you put something down on paper,” says Cabral. “Remembering and writing helps us make sense of things. If you don’t write it down or tell it, it’s lost. And that’s a shame.”</p> <p>Begin by jotting down your reasons for writing your story. You could summarise those reasons on a Post-It and stick it on your fridge as an encouraging reminder to stay motivated. After all, there are many good reasons to write: to remember and reflect on your past, to capture your adventures, to share life lessons with family and friends, or maybe even to be published. Consider sharing your plan with a friend or family member who can check in and cheer your progress.</p> <p><strong>Where to start</strong></p> <p>You don’t have to start a memoir with day one. In fact, as much as your future readers love you, they may find that approach less than gripping.</p> <p>In her workshops, Cabral helps people to start a memoir by using a photo that is meaningful to them. She asks them to imagine sitting down with a good friend and telling them the story behind it. Or begin your writing with an event or story you are particularly interested in sharing. What grabs you as a big moment? Select a vivid memory and start there.</p> <p>“Plug your nose and jump in and write down all your memories as truthfully as you can,” summarises New York Times bestselling author Anne Lamott in <em>Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life</em>. Maybe start with a birthday party you remember, or your first-grade classroom. Try writing at the same time every day, so you can build a routine that will keep you putting words on the page.</p> <p><strong>Write what you want </strong></p> <p>In every life, there is light and shadow, joy and grief. If you are hesitant to write your memoir because you have difficult stories that might hurt others, there is a solution. First, “You don’t have to write about everything,” says Cabral. “It’s okay to have secrets that go with you to the grave.”</p> <p>Simply knowing you have the freedom to not go to the darkest of places in your writing can lift you over those psychological hurdles of hesitation. However, writing often takes on a life of its own. If you find yourself standing outside a door you had marked as “Do Not Enter,” consider Cabral’s advice: “Write about the hard things as if the person you are writing about is reading it. Be as kind as you can. Leave them with dignity.”</p> <p><strong>Who is your audience?</strong></p> <p>If you’re writing for your eyes only, as a kind of personal therapy, then you may be purposely opening doors and exploring what’s on the other side. That’s okay, too. You are creating a treasure for yourself, and that can be very healthy.</p> <p>Besides, whether the writing is for you or for others, you can always hit the delete button or visit the paper shredder later, if you wish. For now, just get it down.</p> <p><strong>Stop yourself from sticking to rules</strong></p> <p>Avoid letting worries over style or structure stop you from writing. If you care enough about grammar, you can ask someone you trust to read it over later on, or even hire a freelance editor if you’re really fretting over verb tenses. Remember, perfection in writing is not your goal.</p> <p><strong>Readers are interested</strong></p> <p>Writers also might hesitate to share stories because they fear they are boring. “I hear a lot of people say, ‘Oh no, that wouldn’t be interesting to anyone but me,’” says Cabral. But our life stories are of interest to others, whether they feel ordinary to us or if they really are extraordinary. They remind us we are all in this together.</p> <p>Writer Pauline Dakin, author of the award-winning 2017 memoir <em>Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood</em>, was surprised how much the unusual story of her childhood on the run connected with readers. She’s since heard from hundreds of people. “They often begin by saying, ‘My family wasn’t nearly as crazy as yours, but…,’” she says. “They are relieved to hear my story. It makes them feel they are not alone.”</p> <p>We are all far more interesting than we know, she adds. It’s just a matter of believing we have a story to tell.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/uncategorized/how-to-write-a-memoir" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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US school teacher sacked after reading Aussie book to class

<p dir="ltr">A US primary school teacher is forced to resign or terminate her contract after reading an Aussie book to her class.</p> <p dir="ltr">Katie Rinderle, from Cobb County, Georgia wanted to teach her fifth graders about inclusion and acceptance through Aussie author Scott Stuart’s book, <em>My Shadow is Purple</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The book itself explores this through the theme of “gender beyond the binary” and the story of a child who neither identifies as a boy or girl.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rinderle discussed the main message behind the book before asking them to reflect and write their own poem, which has been praised by some parents.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, not all of them were happy about Rinderle’s initiative and one parent filed a complaint which led to an investigation.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rinderle was sacked for violating the Divisive Concepts law, which disallows teachers from educating about divisive concepts and was given the notice of termination on June 6.</p> <p dir="ltr">Investigators reportedly deemed the book to be “pornographic” material which included “inappropriate topics”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stuart, the author of the book, responded to the situation and shared his “disgust” on <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@scott.creates/video/7247741499775995137?lang=en" target="_blank" rel="noopener">TikTok</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“A teacher’s just been fired for reading one of my books,” he said in the video.</p> <p dir="ltr">“(She) had parents reaching out saying that this kind of lesson was something that they wanted in the class. This is a teacher who gets phenomenal feedback from the principal, the students, the parents.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Her teaching is described as transformative and key to the school’s success,” he defended Rinderle.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This whole thing just really goes to show how much more interested the school system in the US is in playing politics than they are in educating kids,” he added</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s gross. It’s disgusting.”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cobb County School District has responded to the situation in a statement to<em> FOX 5 a</em>nd claimed that any action taken was “appropriate considering the entirety of the teacher’s behaviour and history”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The District remains committed to strictly enforcing all Board policy, and the law,” the statement concluded.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rinderle will face a termination hearing in August.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 5px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, Rubik, 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;"><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

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Settle in with one of these top reads this winter

<p dir="ltr">It can be challenging deciding on a new book to read, but with these titles releasing throughout July 2023, you’re sure to find something to settle in with.</p> <p dir="ltr">Whether an edge-of-your-seat murder mystery, a laugh-out-loud romantic escapade, or even a deep-space adventure is more your cup of tea, the time has come to dive into your next favourite novel, and maybe even convince your book club to read along with you. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>For the budding detectives out there:</strong></p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/zero-days-ruth-ware/book/9781398508408.html">Zero Days</a></em>, Ruth Ware</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“Hired by companies to break into buildings and hack security systems, Jack and her husband Gabe are the best penetration specialists in the business. But after a routine assignment goes horribly wrong, Jack arrives home to find her husband dead. To add to her horror, the police are closing in on their only suspect – her.</p> <p dir="ltr">“On the run and out of options, Jack must decide who she can trust as she circles closer to the truth in this unputdownable and heart-pounding mystery from 'one of the best thriller writers around today' Ruth Ware.”</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/four-dogs-missing-rhys-gard/book/9781760687724.html">Four Dogs Missing</a></em>, Rhys Gard</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“While estranged twins Oliver and Theo Wingfield are identical in appearance, they couldn't be more different. Theo, an extrovert verging on arrogant, was always a drifter, a nomad, operating on the fringes of the law. Oliver, intense, creative and introspective, was destined to become a winemaker. Each vintage, every bottle from Oliver's Mudgee-based label, Four Dogs Missing, sells out.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And now, after fifteen years without contact, Theo unexpectedly turns up at his brother's vineyard, bearing an invitation that his twin knows nothing about. The quiet and fulfilling life that the winemaker has built for himself is about to change overnight: Theo's arrival is the catalyst for a series of murders involving those closest to Oliver. Finding himself the main suspect, Oliver soon discovers that not everyone in Mudgee supports a reclusive and unorthodox vigneron who's shied away from the community that helped him succeed.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Oliver is inexorably drawn into a sinister world where poisoned liquor and stolen art leave a deadly trail. Abandoning his grapevines, he sets out to solve the crimes – and confront his damaged past – before someone else he loves is found dead … beside a bottle of his own wine.”</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/none-of-this-is-true-lisa-jewell/book/9781529195989.html">None of This is True</a></em>, Lisa Jewell </p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“Celebrating her 45th birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summers crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, it turns out, is also celebrating her 45th birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins.</p> <p dir="ltr">“A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix's children's school. Josie has been listening to Alix's podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Josie's life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can't quite resist the temptation to keep making the podcast.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Slowly Alix starts to realise that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it Josie has inveigled her way into Alix's life - and into her home.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But, as quickly as she arrived, Josie disappears. Only then does Alix discover that Josie has left a terrible and terrifying legacy in her wake, and that Alix has become the subject of her own true crime podcast, her life and her family's lives under mortal threat.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Who is Josie Fair? And what has she done?”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>For the sci-fi fanatics:</strong></p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/circle-of-death-james-patterson/book/9781529136630.html">Circle of Death</a></em>, James Patterson</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“Since Lamont Cranston - known to a select few as the Shadow - defeated Shiwan Khan and ended his reign of terror over New York one year ago, the city has started to regenerate.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But there is evil brewing elsewhere. And this time the entire world is under threat.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Which is why Lamont has scoured the globe to assemble a team with unmatched talent.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Only their combined powers can foil an enemy with ambitions and abilities beyond anyone's deepest fears.</p> <p dir="ltr">“As their mission takes them across the globe and into the highest corridors of power - pushing them beyond their limits - can justice prevail?”</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/a-psalm-for-the-wild-built-becky-chambers/book/9781250320216.html">A Psalm for the Wild-Built</a></em>, Becky Chambers</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“It's been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.</p> <p dir="ltr">“One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of "what do people need?" is answered.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They're going to need to ask it a lot.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Becky Chambers's new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?”</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-mother-fault-kate-mildenhall/book/9781760859848.html">The Mother Fault</a></em>, Kate Mildenhall</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“Mim’s husband is missing. No one knows where Ben is, but everyone wants to find him – especially The Department. And they should know, the all-seeing government body has fitted the entire population with a universal tracking chip to keep them ‘safe’.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But suddenly Ben can’t be tracked. And Mim is questioned, made to surrender her passport and threatened with the unthinkable – her two children being taken into care at the notorious BestLife.</p> <p dir="ltr">“From the stark backroads of the Australian outback to a terrifying sea voyage, Mim is forced to shuck off who she was – mother, daughter, wife, sister – and become the woman she needs to be to save her family and herself.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>For those with a passion for romance: </strong></p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/palazzo-danielle-steel/book/9781529022421.html"><em>Palazzo</em></a>, Danielle Steel</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“After her parents perish in a tragic accident, Cosima Saverio assumes leadership of her family's haute couture Italian leather brand. While navigating the challenges of running a company at twenty-three, Cosima must also maintain the elegant four-hundred-year-old family palazzo in Venice and care for her younger siblings: Allegra, who survived the tragedy that killed their parents, and Luca, who has a penchant for wild parties, pretty women, and poker tables.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Cosima navigates her personal and professional challenges with a wisdom beyond her years, but her success has come at a cost: Her needs are always secondary. She's married to the business, and her free time is given to those who rely on her . . . until she meets Olivier Bayard, the founder of France's most successful ready-to-wear handbag company.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But Luca's gambling habit gets out of control and Cosima is forced to make an impossible choice to save him. The palazzo, the family business or cut Luca loose. Or is there another way to rescue everything she has fought for before it goes up in flames?”</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-willow-tree-wharf-leonie-kelsall/book/9781761066092.html"><em>The Willow Tree Wharf</em></a>, Leonie Kelsall</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“Samantha, owner of Settlers Bridge cafe Ploughs and Pies, is short on confidence and big on regrets. Married young to fill the void left by an unhappy childhood, she still works in the same small town where she grew up, too filled with self-doubt and insecurity to ever risk spreading her wings. Yet will the end of her abusive marriage force her to start anew?</p> <p dir="ltr">“City restaurateur Pierce di Angelis knows what it is to have his career and family ripped away. However, a chance encounter with the intriguing Samantha ignites his passion, and together they concoct a plan for a destination restaurant.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But, with their personalities like oil and water, will old hurts and hidden truths destroy the new business before it's afloat?”</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><em><a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-forgotten-bookshop-in-paris-daisy-wood/book/9780008525248.html">The Forgotten Bookshop in Paris</a></em>, Daisy Wood</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">“Paris, 1940: War is closing in on the city of love. With his wife forced into hiding, Jacques must stand by and watch as the Nazis take away everything he holds dear. Everything except his last beacon of hope: his beloved bookshop, La Page Cachée.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But when a young woman and her child knock on his door one night and beg for refuge, he knows his only option is to risk it all once more to save a life…</p> <p dir="ltr">“Modern day: Juliette and her husband have finally made it to France on the romantic getaway of her dreams – but as the days pass, all she discovers is quite how far they’ve grown apart. She’s craving a new adventure, so when she happens across a tiny, abandoned shop with a for-sale sign in the window, it feels fated.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And she’s about to learn that the forgotten bookshop hides a lot more than meets the eye…”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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How to start your own book club

<p>Starting a book club is easy – all you need is to love reading. Here’s how to get yours off to a flying start.</p> <p><strong>Finding Fellow Readers</strong></p> <p>Ask around your existing personal networks, including neighbours, friends, social media, or a community noticeboard. Once you mention you want to start a club, you’ll be surprised how many people may want to come along. Ask at your local bookshop and library for ideas – many run regular reading groups and can point you in the right direction for good books. Identify what common interests you and your group have and use these to help draw like-minded people. Once you start looking, you’ll find book clubs for men or women, seniors, sci-fi lovers, teenagers or cookery buffs.</p> <p><strong>The Time, the Place</strong></p> <p>Once you have a group, agree on how often you want to meet – typically clubs meet monthly, though the time-poor may want to make it bi-monthly.</p> <p>For many clubs, meeting at home works best as you don’t have to get dressed up, and noisy public venues can make talking hard. If members bring a plate of food or a bottle, it takes the pressure off the host. But try rotating your meeting location as this will help to stimulate fresh thoughts.</p> <p><strong>Idea</strong></p> <p>Tailor your venue according to the book’s subject matter. The Light Between the Oceans by M.L. Stedman was discussed over fish’n’chips by one club, while The Red Tent by Anita Diamant was chewed over at a Middle Eastern restaurant.</p> <p><strong>Size Matters</strong></p> <p>According to Christine Callen, a book club veteran of 15 years, you need a minimum number of people per meeting to make it interesting. “Seven is the magic number – fewer and there’s not enough for healthy debate,” she says. “You can have ten people in the club – not everyone will be able to make it every time – seven provides enough opinions.”</p> <p><strong>Choosing the Books</strong></p> <p>If you’re the club instigator, it’s easier if you pick the first book. Seek out book reviews in good magazines and newspapers and at bookshops. The flavour of the books you choose will be largely dictated by the personalities attending – you might like to have a wide range of genres from sci-fi to romance to travel epics. Or stick to one genre, such as history books. Decide on a strategy and a time frame – say five to 12 books across the year – then review how everything appeals to the majority.</p> <p>Take turns to come up with a list of four or five titles, then circulate the list via email shortly after your last discussion.</p> <p>Members can then vote on their preferred next book and meeting time. The member scheduled to host the next meeting coordinates the responses to decide the title and date most voted for.</p> <p><strong>Starting Discussion</strong></p> <p>Callen recommends beginning by asking all members to briefly give their opinion on the book. “Everyone arrives and has a drink to loosen up,” she explains. “Then we take it in turns to go around the room and each give the book a mark out of ten, saying in a few sentences what we liked or disliked about it. This gives everyone a chance to speak early in the night and stops one person dominating the conversation from the start.”</p> <p><strong>Tip</strong></p> <p>There is no one way to interpret a book. In fact, differing opinions are good.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in <a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/home-tips/How-to-Start-Your-Own-Book-Club">Reader’s Digest</a>. </em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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The 10 best romance novels of all time

<p>Books in which man meets woman, man woos woman (or woman woos man), and man and woman live happily ever after are a dime a dozen. Enjoyable, for sure, but not what you'd call memorable. So, Reader’s Digest have come up with a list of 10 of the best romance novels that tell favourite, and timeless, love stories, each of which goes above and beyond basic romance.</p> <p>Whether it’s glimpsing 19th-century Russia in <em>Anna Karenina</em> or witnessing endless family drama on the Australian outback in <em>The Thorn Birds</em>, each of these fabulous books has something special.</p> <p>“These are much more than love stories; they are life stories,” says US Select Editions editor-in-chief Laura Kelly.</p> <p>“If you like a good love story, books are so much more satisfying than movies,” she continues.</p> <p>“Books take you into the minds of all the characters, where their hopes and dreams will really fire up your own imagination.”</p> <p><strong>1. <em>The Thorn Birds</em> by Colleen McCullough (1977)</strong></p> <p>Set in 1915 Australia, this remarkable saga chronicles the forbidden love between a beautiful, headstrong young girl and a priest.</p> <p>You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll stay up way too late reading this fabulous story.</p> <p><strong>2.<em> Jane Eyre</em> by Charlotte Brontë (1847)</strong></p> <p>“Reader, I married him.” Charlotte Brontë’s gothic masterpiece, with its unyielding heroine, dashing love interest Mr. Rochester, creepy manor house, and foggy English countryside, has become synonymous with 19th-century romance.</p> <p>And writing love stories ran in the Brontë family – Charlotte’s sister Emily’s classic <em>Wuthering Heights</em> is also a strong contender for this list of best romance novels.</p> <p><strong>3. <em>This Is How You Lose Her</em> by Junot Díaz (2013)</strong></p> <p>Technically a collection of short stories, <em>This Is How You Lose Her</em> counts as a novel because the stories all somehow connect back to the same one character’s life.</p> <p>The impressive way the Pulitzer Prize-winning Díaz weaves together multiple love stories – happy and sad, fleeting and lasting – from all around the world makes this one of the best romance novels of the 21st century.</p> <p><strong>4. <em>The Notebook</em> by Nicholas Sparks (1996)</strong></p> <p>Nicholas Sparks has made a name for himself as the writer of some of the best romance novels in recent years.</p> <p>Though he’s written more than 20 books, his first has stood the test of time for a reason.</p> <p>Noah and Allie’s tear-jerking, decade-spanning story remains the wonderfully escapist romantic read it was 20 years ago.</p> <p><strong>5.<em> Call Me By Your Name</em> by André Aciman (2007)</strong></p> <p>Even if you’ve seen the Academy Award-winning film, this enchanting story of first love and self-discovery is still more than worth a read.</p> <p>Prepare to fall just as in love with the magnificent Italian setting as with the story of summer romance and intoxicating attraction.</p> <p><strong>6.<em> The French Lieutenant’s Woman</em> by John Fowles (1969)</strong></p> <p>A Victorian gentleman is engaged to a wealthy and suitable woman, but when he encounters a beautiful, mysterious woman rumoured to be the forsaken lover of a French lieutenant, he becomes utterly smitten.</p> <p>Truly magnificent entertainment.</p> <p><strong>7. <em>Beautiful Disaster </em>by Jamie McGuire (2012)</strong></p> <p>With an edgy, modern twist on the good-girl-meets-bad-boy theme, <em>Beautiful Disaster</em> has topped must-read romance lists for a reason.</p> <p>After reinventing herself just before college, Abby finds herself involved in a tantalising bet with her school’s resident tattooed player.</p> <p>Neither of them is prepared for the results.</p> <p><strong>8.<em> The Time Traveler’s Wife</em> by Audrey Niffenegger (2003)</strong></p> <p>Every love has its challenges, and while your husband being an unwitting time traveller may not be one you’re familiar with, this four-hanky tale will still tug on your heartstrings.</p> <p><strong>9. <em>Anna Karenina </em>by Leo Tolstoy (1877)</strong></p> <p>Trapped in a loveless marriage, Anna Karenina succumbs to temptation and embarks on a dangerous affair with the handsome Vronsky.</p> <p>Tragedy unfolds amid the canvas of 19th-century Russia, in the most famous of doomed love stories.</p> <p>A memorable and enduring classic.</p> <p><strong>10. <em>Outlander </em>by Diana Gabaldon (1991)</strong></p> <p>A powerhouse time-travel romance, this is the first in Gabaldon’s hugely successful series.</p> <p>Strong, beautiful Claire Randall leads a double life, married to a man in one century, with a lover in another century.</p> <p>Filled with humour, passion, wit and wonderful Scottish scenery, this is one fast read for a 600-plus page book.</p> <p>Enjoy the wallow!</p> <p><em>Written by Reader’s Digest Editors. This article first appeared in </em><em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/book-club/10-best-romance-novels-all-time">Reader’s Digest</a></em><em>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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The 10 most beautiful libraries around the world

<p>Whether you’re a bookworm or just a lover of fine architecture, these gorgeous libraries are sure to fill you with wanderlust. Here are 10 of the most stunning libraries around the world.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Clementinum in Prague, Czech Republic</strong> – built in 1722, the Baroque library hall is adorned with elaborate frescoes and houses The National Library of the Czech Republic.</li> <li><strong>Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., USA</strong> – established in 1800 and boasting over 160,000,000 items on catalogue, the Library of Congress has the largest collection in the world.</li> <li><strong>Marciana Library in Venice, Italy</strong> – a pinnacle of Renaissance architecture, this stunning library took 50 years to build after construction began in 1537.</li> <li><strong>Trinity College Old Library in Dublin, Ireland</strong> – the grand Long Room is the most iconic part of this historic library, founded in 1592.</li> <li><strong>Bodleian Library at Oxford University, England</strong> – established in 1602, this library is the second largest in Britain and was used as a filming location in the first two Harry Potter films.</li> <li><strong>Biblioteca Joanina in Coimbra, Portugal</strong> – another Baroque masterpiece built in 1717, this library is known for its elaborate decorative elements.</li> <li><strong>Austrian National Library in Vienna, Austria</strong> – built in 1723, this incredible library was once the palace library, and once you see in side you won’t be surprised to hear of its royal past.</li> <li><strong>The Library of El Escorial in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain</strong> – this royal library is spectacularly adorned in gold and classic frescoes and is nestled in the magnificent royal site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.</li> <li><strong>Abbey Library in St. Gallen, Switzerland</strong> – at over 1,000 years old, this World Heritage site is designed in the Rococo style and survived the devastating fire in 937 which destroyed the Abbey.</li> <li><strong>Sainte-Geneviève Library in Paris, France</strong> – designed nearly 200 years ago, the grand glass and iron reading room is one of the most iconic libraries in France.</li> </ol> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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