Category Archives: Literature

Tony Abbott is a Spanker

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has admitted he’s not only a reader of “mummy porn”, the steamy sub-genre of literature featuring descriptions of sex scenes, he has a preferred author. Mr Abbott told the Sydney Triple M breakfast show The Grill Team, that he had read both The Bride Stripped Bare by Australian author Nikki […]

Fifty Shades of Meh

SL and I must be en rapport because we’ve both jumped on the Fifty Shades of Grey bandwagon at the same time: her earlier comments are here. The common thread is that neither of us are impressed, and neither of us likes bad writing. The difference with my review is that I broke my resolution […]

You’re not all that. You’re really not.

The other day, Pavlov’s Cat drew my attention to this piece on why bullies bully, particularly in schools. The tl;dr version? Telling kids that they’re all that produces narcissistic, entitled little monsters who think the world owes them a living. Contrary to the mythology, bullies have high self-esteem, not the opposite. Well well well (three […]

Year Zero, or all Revolutions Devour their own Children

Few people are aware that it was murdered Sturmabteiling (SA) leader, Ernst Röhm, who quipped — apparently just before his execution during the Night of the Long Knives — that all revolutions devour their own children. His papers, discovered after the War, reveal that he thought this observation applied to all revolutions. There was no ‘good’ […]

Your merit good is not meritorious, therefore it has been cancelled

Instead of doing, you know, actual work last night (how do I hate thee HMRC, let me count the ways), I spent quite a bit of the evening reading articles and responding to the news that new Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has cancelled (I’m not sure if that’s the right word, but never mind) the […]

Panem et circenses

The title of this post reveals the Latin quip (by the Roman satirist Juvenal, in his 10th Satire, 77-81) from which Suzanne Collins derived the name of her fictional dystopian country in The Hunger Games (Legal Eagle’s review and commentary is here). It means ‘bread and circuses’ and is part of a lengthy whinge where Juvenal […]

The Hunger Games

I have just read Suzanne Collins’ series The Hunger Games. ‘Read’ is probably not the right word: ‘devoured’ is more like it. Once I’d started, I had to finish. As I’ve said before I think good writing has a “hook” which makes you want to read on, but also makes you think about people or […]

Stella, by means of a trust

It’s not often that the paths of commercial law and literature intersect, so when it happens, we tend to seize the opportunity with both hands. This post, then, is a discussion of the newly-founded Stella Prize for Australian women writers, and the legal instrument that will of necessity be the vehicle for its ongoing success: […]

Academia, self-promotion and Orlando Figes

Apologies that I haven’t been around lately. I have mostly recovered from my chest ailments (residual cough only), but my book manuscript is due to be sent to the publishers at the end of this week, so I have been frantically reading and re-reading the manuscript. Via Kerryn Goldsworthy, I became aware of this great […]

Inhabiting Fiction Part 2

About a year ago I picked up The Children’s Book, which I’d put down months earlier after failing to really get engaged in it, and, as with Wolf Hall (which I talked about in my last post), I was lost in a past world. Not that I want to go to this one – it […]