Books

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Salman Rushdie announces novella in unusual form

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie, author of the controversial book </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Satanic Verses</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, has </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au/latestnews/salman-rushdie-serialises-novella.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">announced</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> he will be writing his next book on the newsletter platform Substack.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The newsletter is called </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://salmanrushdie.substack.com/p/welcome-to-my-sea-of-stories?showWelcome=true" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Salman’s Sea of Stories</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in a reference to his 1990 novel </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au/haroun-and-the-sea-of-stories.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Haroun and the Sea of Stories</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and will be where his new book </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Seventh Wave</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> will be published, along with short stories, essays and other works.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Speaking to </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Guardian, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rushdie revealed that </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Seventh Wave</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> totals at 35,000 words and is about a “film director and an actor slash muse written in the style of New Wave cinema”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to his website, most of his work will be free to access.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, a paid subscription is needed to access additional works, including </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Seventh Wave</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which will be released in weekly instalments. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The point of doing this is to have a closer relationship with readers, to speak freely, without any intermediaries or gatekeepers,” his website reads.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There’s just us here, just you and me, and we can take this wherever it goes. I hope you’ll enjoy the ride. I’ll try to make it fun.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: salmanrushdie.com</span></em></p>

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New book claims man from Snowy River “had to be Aboriginal”

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The man from Snowy River from Banjo Paterson’s famous poem has always been depicted as a white man, but one author claims the character was based on an Indigenous stockman.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 1890 poem regales the story of a runaway horse, with various stockmen pursuing the colt and attempting to separate it from a herd of brumbies. When the wild horses descend an apparently impassable slope, the man from Snowy River is the only one who continues the chase.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Brumby Wars</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, author and Walkley Award-winning journalist Anthony Sharwood claims that the poem indicates the story takes place in the Byadbo region of the Snowy Mountains, where he says all the local stockmen were Indigenous.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Brumbies. A vision of the legendary Man from Snowy Riveror a spectre of ecosystems destroyed by feral pests? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheBrumbyWars?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheBrumbyWars</a> by <a href="https://twitter.com/antsharwood?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@antsharwood</a> is the riveting account of a major national issue and the very human passions it inspires.<br /><br />Out now: <a href="https://t.co/WF0FKMsEHu">https://t.co/WF0FKMsEHu</a> <a href="https://t.co/Gh8je2ciRa">pic.twitter.com/Gh8je2ciRa</a></p> — Hachette Australia Books (@HachetteAus) <a href="https://twitter.com/HachetteAus/status/1432938770370727940?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 1, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">His theory relies on lines from the poem’s final stanza, which mention an area near Mount Kosciuszko “where the pine-clad ridges raise”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sharwood said Byadbo is “the only part of Australia’s alpine region and nearby foothills with cypress pine forests, a native conifer that thrives in dry country”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“If the poem were sourced from stories of the Byadbo area, then the stockman had to be Aboriginal because all the best riders in the area had Indigenous blood,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In his newly-released book, Sharwood considers the controversial case for reducing brumby numbers due to their overgrazing of national parks, versus the calls to protect them because of their romanticised image.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Forget that Patterson knew they were pests and advocated for them to be shot to protect the pasture for cattle,” Sharwood said. “The brumbies are characters in the poem and that makes them sacred, eternal, untouchable, as quintessentially Australian as Vegemite and thongs.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, Sharwood isn’t the first to suggest the titular character was Indigenous.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 1988, Victoria’s official historian Bernard Barrett proposed the character may have been based on a young Indigenous rider named Toby, with Barrett claiming “a better rider never sat a horse”.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 331.0546875px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843655/gettyimages-542638958.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/cb8bd6984579401690c748346937c534" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Professor Jakelin Troy, director of Aboriginal research at the University of Sydney and an Aboriginal Australian from the Ngarigu community of the Snowy Mountains, said we may never know who the rider was based on.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I don’t think any of us really care who the man, or woman, from Snowy River was, but it is an interesting thing to explore because it definitely plays into the mythology of the area,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“One piece of research says he was my father’s great uncle called Jim Troy. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Banjo stayed with the family and Jim Troy fits the description even down to the horse. They bred them tough like their horses were a mixture of Timor pony which are really tough and thoroughbreds with a bit of Arab to make them a bit finer. The horses were a mixed breed … We will probably never know who the actual person was.”</span></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.hachette.com.au/anthony-sharwood/the-brumby-wars-the-battle-for-the-soul-of-australia" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Brumby Wars</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> was released on Wednesday, August 1 by Hachette.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p>

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Campaigner sparks controversy after blasting picture book

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A British domestic violence campaigner has called out Judith Kerr’s 1968 picture book, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Tiger Who Came to Tea</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, as a reinforcement of problematic ideas.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rachel Adamson, the co-director of charity Zero Tolerance, which aims to end men’s violence against women, has claimed the book is an “old fashioned” depiction of women.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We know that gender stereotypes are harmful and they reinforce gender inequality, and that gender inequality is the cause of violence against women and girls,” she told </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">BBC Radio Scotland</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kerr’s picture book tells the story of a tiger who arrives on a family’s doorstep and, once invited in for tea, proceeds to consume all of their food and drinks.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Adamson criticised the “stereotypical” ending to the book, where the dad comes home from work and saves the day by taking his family to a cafe.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The campaigner also questioned why the tiger was not female or gender neutral.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We need to recognise these aren’t just stories… it is reflective of a society that we need to think more closely about,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Adamson described Kerr as a “wonderful author”, but was aware that her comments would “make a lot of people unhappy”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite her strong views about the book, Adamson has stressed that she doesn’t want it banned.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Instead, she believes it could be used to “raise a conversation” in nurseries.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Speaking to </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Daily Telegraph</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, Meghan Gallacher, the Scottish Conservatives spokesperson for children and young people, described Adamson’s language as “completely unhelpful”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“While attitudes change over time, parents will be left bemused at some of these claims by Zero Tolerance,” Gallacher </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9920825/Tiger-Came-Tea-lead-rape-harassment-campaigner-claims.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">said</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This sort of language is completely unhelpful as we try to educate children about much-loved publications from days gone by.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There are far better ways for this publicly funded group to go about changing attitudes, rather than simply calling for these books to be banned from nurseries.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kerr, who had fled Nazi Germany when she was just 13, had previously denied claims there was a darker meaning to the story.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The idea came to her while she was a stay-at-home mother of her two small children.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It got really very boring,” she later recalled. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’d go for a walk and have tea, and that was it really. And we wished someone would come. So I thought, why not have a tiger come?”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kerr continued to write and illustrate books from 1968 until she passed away in May of 2019.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Instagram, Rachel Adamson</span></em></p>

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Dolly Parton and James Patterson to release a novel

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">From singing hit country songs to contributing to COVID-19 vaccine research, Dolly Parton has a diversified set of skills.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In her latest venture, the songstress has teamed up with bestselling author James Patterson to pen her first-ever fiction novel, due to be released on March 7, 2022.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The novel, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Run, Rose, Run</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, is a thriller that follows a young woman on the run who moves to Nashville to pursue her dreams as a singer-songwriter and will do anything it takes to survive.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When she announced her debut novel, the star shared a photo of herself with the legendary novelist, as well as a picture of the book’s front cover.</span></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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CScLi_DLNIH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CScLi_DLNIH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Dolly Parton (@dollyparton)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I cannot be more excited about the release of my very first novel #RunRoseRun with @jamespattersonbooks,” she captioned the post.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alongside the novel, Dolly plans to release a companion LP of new music based on the characters and situations in the novel.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I hope you enjoy the book and the songs as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together,” she concluded.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Just two days before making the announcement on social media, Dolly hinted at the idea on Book Lovers Day, disclosing her dream of writing her own novel.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The seeds of dreams are often found in books, and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world,” she captioned a retro snap of herself holding a book.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I dream of writing my own novel one day 😉”.</span></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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CSW-D-JLob_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CSW-D-JLob_/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Dolly Parton (@dollyparton)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Previously, Dolly has written autobiographical books, including </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which was released last year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The famed singer has also started a weekly YouTube series called </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Goodnight with Dolly</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, where she reads children’s books for kids who are stuck at home and bored during the COVID-19 pandemic.</span></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.littlebrown.com/titles/james-patterson/run-rose-run/9780759554375/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Run, Rose, Run</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is now available to preorder from </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.jamespatterson.com/titles/james-patterson/run-rose-run/9780759554344/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Patterson’s website</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, as well as other bookstores.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Dolly Parton / Instagram</span></p>

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Against cancelling Chaucer

<p>Was Chaucer a toxic misogynist, or a staunch women’s ally?<span></span></p> <p>Spying is a risky profession. For the 14th-century English undercover agent-turned-poet Geoffrey Chaucer, <a rel="noopener" href="https://books.google.com/books?id=kYzgDwAAQBAJ&amp;pg=PA95&amp;dq=Chaucer+military+intelligence&amp;hl=en&amp;newbks=1&amp;newbks_redir=0&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwikmuL34d_xAhWRcc0KHRMHB0kQ6AEwAHoECAkQAg#v=onepage&amp;q=Chaucer%20military%20intelligence&amp;f=false" target="_blank">the dangers</a> – at least to his reputation – continue to surface centuries after his death.</p> <p>In his <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/why-is-chaucer-disappearing-from-the-university-curriculum-leicester-essay-a-s-g-edwards" target="_blank">July 2021 essay</a> for the Times Literary Supplement, A.S.G. Edwards, professor of medieval manuscripts at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, laments the removal of Geoffrey Chaucer from university curricula. Edwards says he believes this disappearance may be propelled by a vocal cohort of scholars who see the “father of English poetry” as <a rel="noopener" href="https://muse.jhu.edu/article/727754" target="_blank">a rapist, racist and antisemite</a>.</p> <p>The predicament would have amused Chaucer himself. Jewish and feminist scholars, among others, are shooting down one of their earliest and wisest allies. This is happening when <a rel="noopener" href="https://voegelinview.com/feminist-thought-of-geoffrey-chaucer-the-wife-of-bath-and-all-hire-secte" target="_blank">new research reveals</a> a Chaucer altogether different from what many current readers have come to accept. My decades of research show he was no raunchy proponent of bro culture but a daring and ingenious <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/for-the-birds-hardly-valentines-day-was-reimagined-by-chivalrous-medieval-poets-for-all-to-enjoy-respectfully-155099" target="_blank">defender of women and the innocent</a>.</p> <p>As a <a rel="noopener" href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=iDoS8ewAAAAJ&amp;hl=en" target="_blank">medievalist who teaches Chaucer</a>, I believe the movement to cancel Chaucer has been bamboozled by his tradecraft – his consummate skill as a master of disguise.</p> <p><strong>Outfoxing the professors</strong></p> <p>It’s true that Chaucer’s work contains toxic material. His “<a rel="noopener" href="https://chaucer.fas.harvard.edu/pages/prologue" target="_blank">Wife of Bath’s Prologue</a>” in “The Canterbury Tales,” his celebrated collection of stories, quotes at length from the long tradition of classical and medieval works on the <a rel="noopener" href="https://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/12914/" target="_blank">evils of women</a>, as mansplained by the Wife’s elderly husbands: “You say, just as worms destroy a tree, so a wife destroys her husband.”</p> <p>Later, “<a rel="noopener" href="https://sites.fas.harvard.edu/%7Echaucer/teachslf/pri-par.htm" target="_blank">The Prioress’s Tale</a>” repeats the anti-Semitic <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.adl.org/education/resources/glossary-terms/blood-libel" target="_blank">blood libel</a> story, the false accusation that Jews murdered Christians, at a time when Jews across Europe <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.montana.edu/historybug/yersiniaessays/pariera-dinkins.html" target="_blank">were under attack</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/411132/original/file-20210713-21-fxqh4g.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/411132/original/file-20210713-21-fxqh4g.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="An illustration of two women characters from Geoffrey Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales'" /></a> <em><span class="caption">The Prioress and the Wife of Bath from Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales.’</span> <span class="attribution"><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/the-prioress-and-the-wife-of-bath-from-old-england-a-news-photo/1036139720" target="_blank" class="source">Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)</a></span></em></p> <p>These poems in particular generate accusations that Chaucer propagated sexist and antisemitic material because he agreed with or enjoyed it.</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://books.google.com/books?id=5rDoDwAAQBAJ&amp;newbks=1&amp;newbks_redir=0&amp;dq=elaine+tuttle+hansen+chaucer+and+the+fictions+of+gender&amp;source=gbs_navlinks_s" target="_blank">Several</a> <a rel="noopener" href="https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/40555" target="_blank">prominent</a> <a rel="noopener" href="https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691160092/chaucer" target="_blank">scholars</a> seem convinced that Chaucer’s personal views are the same as those of his characters and that Chaucer is promoting these opinions. And they believe he abducted or raped a young woman named Cecily Chaumpaigne, although the <a rel="noopener" href="http://www.umsl.edu/%7Egradyf/chaucer/cecily.htm" target="_blank">legal records</a> are enigmatic. It looks as though Cecily accused Chaucer of some such crime and he paid her to clear his name. It’s unclear what actually happened between them.</p> <p>Critics cherry-pick quotations to support their claims about Chaucer. But if you examine his writings in detail, as I have, you’ll see themes of concern for women and human rights, the oppressed and the persecuted, reappear time and time again.</p> <p><strong>Chaucer the spy</strong></p> <p>Readers often assume Chaucer’s characters were a reflection of the writer’s own attitude because he is such a convincing role player. Chaucer’s <a rel="noopener" href="https://books.google.com/books?id=E4DXD7Sk7WcC&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=life+of+Chaucer+Riverside+Chaucer&amp;hl=en&amp;newbks=1&amp;newbks_redir=0&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwiws4jr0uXxAhWnEFkFHXbCAOQQ6AEwAHoECAsQAg#v=onepage&amp;q=life%20of%20Chaucer%20Riverside%20Chaucer&amp;f=false" target="_blank">career in the English secret service</a> trained him as an observer, analyst, diplomat and master at concealing his own views.</p> <p>In his teens, Chaucer became a confidential envoy for England. From 1359 to 1378, he graced English diplomatic delegations and carried out missions described in expense records only as “<a rel="noopener" href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-riverside-chaucer-9780199552092?lang=de&amp;cc=lt" target="_blank">the king’s secret business</a>.”</p> <p>Documents show him scouting paths through the Pyrenees for English forces poised to invade Spain. He lobbied Italy for money and troops, while also perhaps investigating the suspicious death of Lionel of Antwerp, an English prince who was probably poisoned soon after his wedding.</p> <p>Chaucer’s job brought him face to face with the darkest figures of his day — the treacherous <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-II-king-of-Navarre" target="_blank">Charles the Bad, King of Navarre</a>, a notorious traitor and assassin, and Bernabò Visconti, lord of Milan, who helped devise a <a rel="noopener" href="https://books.google.com/books?id=0YoxAAAAQBAJ&amp;pg=PA179&amp;dq=Bernabo+Visconti+torture&amp;hl=en&amp;newbks=1&amp;newbks_redir=0&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwizxdyM8t_xAhVZGs0KHZgQCn0Q6AEwCHoECAQQAg#v=onepage&amp;q=Bernabo%20Visconti%20torture&amp;f=false" target="_blank">40-day torture protocol</a>.</p> <p>Chaucer’s poetry reflects his experience as an English agent. He enjoyed role-playing and assuming many identities in his writing. And like the couriers he dispatched from Italy in 1378, he brings his readers covert messages split between multiple speakers. Each teller holds just a piece of the puzzle. The whole story can only be understood when all the messages arrive.</p> <p>He also uses the skills of a secret agent to express dangerous truths not accepted in his own day, when misogyny and antisemitism were both entrenched, especially among the clergy.</p> <p>Chaucer does not preach or explain. Instead, he lets the formidable Wife of Bath, the character he most enjoyed, tell us about the misogyny of her five husbands and fantasize about how ladies of King Arthur’s court might take revenge on a rapist. Or he makes his deserted <a rel="noopener" href="http://mcllibrary.org/Houseoffame/" target="_blank">Queen Dido cry</a>: “Given their bad behavior, it’s a shame any woman ever took pity on any man.”</p> <p><strong>Chaucer the chivalrous defender</strong></p> <p>While current critiques of Chaucer label him as an <a rel="noopener" href="https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/40555" target="_blank">exponent of toxic masculinity</a>, he was actually an <a rel="noopener" href="https://books.google.com/books?id=E5BCs9mylBsC&amp;pg=PA379&amp;dq=Chaucer+human+rights&amp;hl=en&amp;newbks=1&amp;newbks_redir=0&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwjKqeXc1OXxAhV3F1kFHZztDcYQ6AEwAXoECAoQAg#v=onepage&amp;q=Chaucer%20human%20rights&amp;f=false" target="_blank">advocate for human rights</a>.</p> <p>My own research shows that in the course of his career he supported women’s right to choose their own mates and the human desire for freedom from enslavement, coercion, verbal abuse, political tyranny, judicial corruption and sexual trafficking. In “The Canterbury Tales” and “The Legend of Good Women,” he tells many stories on such themes. There he opposed assassination, infanticide and femicide, the mistreatment of prisoners, sexual harassment and domestic abuse. He valued self-control in action and in speech. He spoke out for women, enslaved people and Jews.</p> <p>“Women want to be free and not coerced like slaves, and so do men,” the narrator of <a rel="noopener" href="https://sites.fas.harvard.edu/%7Echaucer/teachslf/frkt-par.htm" target="_blank">“The Franklin’s Prologue” says</a>.</p> <p>As for Jews, Chaucer salutes their ancient heroism in his early poem “<a rel="noopener" href="https://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/English/Fame.php" target="_blank">The House of Fame</a>.” He depicts them as a people who have done great good in the world, only to be rewarded with slander. In “The Prioress’s Tale” he shows them being libeled by a desperate character to cover up a crime of which they were manifestly innocent, a century after all Jews had been brutally expelled from England.</p> <p>Chaucer’s own words demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt that when his much underestimated Prioress tells her antisemitic blood libel tale, Chaucer is not endorsing it. Through <a rel="noopener" href="https://sites.fas.harvard.edu/%7Echaucer/teachslf/pri-par.htm" target="_blank">her own words and actions</a>, and a cascade of reactions from those who hear her, he is exposing such guilty and dangerous actors as they deploy such lies.</p> <p>And was he a rapist or an abductor? <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jun/07/document-casts-new-light-on-chaucer-rape-case" target="_blank">It’s unlikely</a>. The case suggests he might well have been targeted, perhaps even because of his work. Few authors have ever been more <a rel="noopener" href="https://scholarship.depauw.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1133&amp;context=studentresearch" target="_blank">outspoken about man’s inhumanity to women</a>.</p> <p>It is bizarre that one of the strongest and earliest writers in English literature to speak out against rape and support women and the downtrodden should be pilloried and threatened with cancellation.</p> <p>But Chaucer knew the complexity of his art put him at risk. As his character the Squire dryly observed, people all too often “demen gladly to the badder ende” – “They are happy to assume the worst.”<!-- 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/152312/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><span><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jennifer-wollock-1179510" target="_blank">Jennifer Wollock</a>, Professor of English, <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/texas-aandm-university-1672" target="_blank">Texas A&amp;M University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/calls-to-cancel-chaucer-ignore-his-defense-of-women-and-the-innocent-and-assume-all-his-characters-opinions-are-his-152312" target="_blank">original article</a>.</p>

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“The no going back moment”: Palace insiders slam Prince Harry’s memoir

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Palace insiders have described Prince Harry’s new memoir as the “final nail in the coffin” for his relationship with the Royal Family.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Duke of Sussex announced that he will release an “intimate and heartfelt” memoir next year, which he says will be “accurate and wholly truthful”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’m writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become,” the 36-year-old said in a statement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Royal sources have spoken out about a “growing sense of shock and fury” within the family about the book, claiming Harry’s decision ruined any hope of reconciliation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This is the no going back moment - the final nail in the coffin of the Royal Family’s relationship with Harry,” a “senior royal source” told </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9806777/DAN-WOOTTON-reveals-growing-royal-fury-Harrys-tell-book.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Daily Mail</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The emotional turmoil as they wait over a year for publication is going to be torturous.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another source told the publication: “Prince Charles didn’t know anything about it. This is really painful, it’s going to be difficult for him to take. The assumption is that he will take another kicking from Harry.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The real disappointing thing for Charles is that he used to get on with Harry so well, actually far better than William. He feels so let down by the whole thing.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Insiders also claim that the book will damage Harry’s relationship with Prince William.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Harry’s been going around to people saying he can’t remember his childhood and his mother that much. Now he’s going to write a book about it. How does that stack up?” a source said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“What’s really telling is even the relatives he remains closest to, like princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, are stunned by what he’s up to.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the book expected to be published in 2022, there are said to be concerns that it could “overshadow” significant royal events, such as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Prince William’s 40th birthday, and the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“With that mix, it should have been a really positive year for the Royal Family,” a source said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“But Harry doesn’t care. He’s acting like a child. We need to remember he’s a nearly 37-year-old man, not a 21-year-old. He’s on the cusp of middle age.”</span></p>

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Adaptations of Brian Jacques ‘Redwall’ series announced

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The beloved </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Redwall</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> series by Brian Jacques is being adapted into a feature film and animated series following a new rights deal between Netflix and Penguin Random House Children.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The books will be adapted for the first time as a film, which will draw on the titular novel in the series and will be written by Patrick McHale (</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over The Garden Wall</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">).</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">...i - am that is... <a href="https://t.co/Aau3o8bKHu">pic.twitter.com/Aau3o8bKHu</a></p> — Patrick McHale (@Patrick_McHale) <a href="https://twitter.com/Patrick_McHale/status/1359608617935265813?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 10, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The television series will be based on the second book, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Martin the Warrior</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and will be the first television adaptation of the books since the series that ran from 1999 until 2002.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We couldn’t be more delighted to announce this deal,” Ben Horlson, Fiction Publisher at Penguin Random House Children told </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://variety.com/2021/film/news/netflix-redwall-movie-tv-show-brian-jacques-1234904865/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Variety</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">magazine. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“These perennially popular stories have been etched onto the hearts of millions of readers, and we are thrilled to partner with Netflix to bring those beloved characters on screen for families worldwide to enjoy.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jacques' </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Redwall</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> series follows anthropomorphic animals - including mice, rabbits, badgers, and moles - that live in the Redwall abbey and the surrounding Mossflower Woods as they defend themselves against bands of foxes, rats, and weasels.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Variety</span></em></p>

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Prince Harry's latest announcement has fans stunned

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post-body-container"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>Prince Harry has shocked fans and the royal family with his latest announcement, as he plans on publishing a tell-all book about his life.</p> <p>Penguin Random House made the announcement, saying it was "honoured" to publish the memoir by the Duke of Sussex.</p> <p>“In an intimate and heartfelt memoir from one of the most fascinating and influential global figures of our time, Prince Harry will share, for the very first time, the definitive account of the experiences, adventures, losses and life lessons that have helped shape him,” it said.</p> <p>“Covering his lifetime in the public eye from childhood to the present day, including his dedication to service, the military duty that twice took him to the frontlines of Afghanistan, and the joy he has found in being a husband and father, Prince Harry will offer an honest and captivating personal portrait, one that shows readers that behind everything they think they know lies an inspiring, courageous and uplifting human story.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Prince Harry is ready to tell his story. <a href="https://twitter.com/penguinrandom?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@penguinrandom</a> announced today that the Duke of Sussex will publish “an intimate and heartfelt memoir” in late 2022. It will be “the definitive account of the experiences, adventures, losses, and life lessons that have helped shape him.” <a href="https://t.co/wqiv7jUM8v">pic.twitter.com/wqiv7jUM8v</a></p> — Omid Scobie (@scobie) <a href="https://twitter.com/scobie/status/1417175401324064768?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 19, 2021</a></blockquote> <p>Prince Harry confirmed the news, saying he was excited to share his life in a way that was "accurate and wholly truthful".</p> <p>“I’m writing this not as the Prince I was born but as the man I have become,” he said.</p> <p>“I’ve worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story – the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned – I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think.</p> <p>“I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.”</p> <p>Markus Dohle, the CEO of Pengiun Random House, said the company was “thrilled” to be releasing the book.</p> <p>“Prince Harry has harnessed his extraordinary life experience as a Prince, a soldier, and a knowledgeable advocate for social issues, establishing himself as a global leader recognised for his courage and openness,” said Mr Dohle.</p> <p>“It is for that reason we’re excited to publish his honest and moving story.”</p> <p>However, the announcement wasn't without its critics.</p> <p>Piers Morgan led the charge, tweeting "You've got to be f---ing joking?????"</p> <p>"Oh Harry, leave the ghost-written autobiographies to the footballers. Your Granny hasn't felt the need to tell 'her story' having lived three times as long as you," GB News presenter Colin Brazier tweeted.</p> <p>Royal biographer Robert Jobson wrote, "I'd say the Windsor Christening of 'Lilibet' with the Queen present might well be off! Unless 'H' intends to combine it with a book signing tour of the UK that is…"</p> <p>Random House hasn't confirmed how much Prince Harry will be paid for his memoir but Prince Harry says that he will be donating the proceeds to charity.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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Five books to read before you watch them

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the pandemic sees us continuing to stay inside and look for ways to entertain ourselves, adaptations of beloved books on screens big and small are just one way to while away the hours.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are five books that are worth a read before their adaptations are released.</span></p> <p><strong>1. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Netflix)</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 2008 Booker winning novel is already streaming on Netflix. Adiga’s darkly humorous debut novel follows the rags-to-riches story of Balram Halwal (played by Adarsh Gourav in his debut role), the son of a rickshaw driver, as he climbs the social ladder in India after murdering his master.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The film is be written, directed, and produced by Ramin Bahrani (</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Fahrenheit 451</em></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Chop Shop</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">).</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oM-Nw9XzqVM" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>2. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (BBC Three)</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After the successful TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s second novel </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Normal People</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, BBC Three is doing the same with Rooney’s debut novel </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Conversations with Friends</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.  The book details the relationships between Dublin college students Frances and Bobbi and an older married couple, Nick and Melissa.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The adaptation is due to be released in 2022 and will star Alison Oliver as Frances, Sasha Lane (</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>American</em> <em>Honey</em></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">) as Bobbi, Jemima Kirke (</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Girls</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">) as Melissa, and Joe Alwyn (</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mary Queen of Scots</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">) as Nick.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Daisy Jones &amp; the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Amazon Prime Video)</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2020, Reese Witherspoon announced her production company Hello Sunshine would adapt </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Daisy Jones &amp; the Six</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> after claiming she “devoured [it] in a day”. </span></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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BueVkgqjuWV/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/BueVkgqjuWV/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Reese’s Book Club (@reesesbookclub)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reid’s novel tells the story of a rock band’s rise to fame in the 1970s, led by titular character Daisy Jones played by Riley Keough (</span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mad Max: Fury Road</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The miniseries is expected to air on Amazon Prime Video sometime this year.</span></p> <p><strong>4. Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughn (Netflix)</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sara Vaughn’s 2008 thriller is hoped to arrive on Netflix sometime this year as a six-episode series. The book follows the crumbling marriage of James, a Home Office minister, and Sophie, after James’ affair comes to light. Meanwhile, young barrister Kate prosecutes some of the UK’s most serious cases of sexual assault.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The producers behind </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Big Little Lies</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Gone Girl</em></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> are on board, and the series’ main cast will include Sienna Miller, Michelle Dockery, Rupert Friend, and Naomi Scott.</span></p> <p><strong>5. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (Hulu)</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Following the success of Liane Moriarty’s </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Big Little Lies</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> as a series, another of her bestsellers is hitting the small screen. Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, Luke Evans will join the series, which follows nine strangers who gather at a remote health resort run by shady host Masha (Kidman).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The series has been filmed in Byron Bay, New South Wales and is set to debut on Hulu from August 18.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Instagram</span></em></p>

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Adam Goodes to release first picture book

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Former footy player Adam Goodes is set to release his first picture book this year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Titled </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/somebody-s-land-welcome-to-our-country-adam-goodes/book/9781760526726.html?irclickid=2MXT8RXVdxyLRd8ztDxgm11DUkByTbxdtyxlxo0&amp;bk_source=1426251&amp;bk_source_id=1426251&amp;irgwc=1&amp;utm_campaign=Good%20Reading%20Magazine&amp;utm_medium=affiliate&amp;utm_source=Impact" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Somebody’s Land</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, Goodes co-authored the book with journalist and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Speaker of NSW Parliament Ellie Laing, illustrated by Barkinjill artist David Hardy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Goodes said fatherhood inspired his debut book.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I love reading to my daughter Adelaide,” he said. “I hope the series gives readers the opportunity to learn something new and have more conversations because of it. This book is a reflection of me. I’m incredibly hopeful. I choose to be positive, to help us heal as a nation.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The first in a five-part book series called </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Welcome to Country</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> published by Allen &amp; Unwin Children’s Books, the picture books aim to educate young readers between four to eight-years-old about </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">terra nullius</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and Indigenous sovereignty.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Somebody’s Land</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> will be available in November 2021, and can now be pre-ordered.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Booktopia / Twitter</span></em></p>

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“I just find horror very funny”: RL Stine opens up on writing career

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There have been a lot of rumours circulating about RL Stine, the man behind hundreds of children’s horror books.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rumours that he’s dead and that he’s a collection of writers using the same name are not true, but what about the claim he was once writing a new book each week?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“That’s not true either,” he told the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">BBC</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “It took two weeks.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 77-year-old writer behind series such as </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Goosebumps</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Give Yourself Goosebumps</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fear Street</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Point Horror</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has said even he doesn’t know exactly how many books he’s written, or how many copies have been sold.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to Wikipedia, it’s upwards of 400 million, but he believes “that’s got to be a made up number - who counted that?”</span></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-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CIs4FjSFKyE/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <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/CIs4FjSFKyE/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by R. L. Stine (@rl_stine1)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As for the latest adaptation of his work into a Netflix trilogy, he has a warning for anyone planning to watch them: “My books were PG-rated. These movies are definitely not.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Netflix’s </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Fear Street</em> <em>Trilogy</em></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> consists of three slasher films set in 1994, 1978, and 1660 that are set to be released over three weeks. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stine said it was a “shock” seeing his work adapted for a grown-up audience, but it’s content doesn’t scare him.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I don’t get scared from horror movies,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There’s something missing in my brain. I just find horror very funny.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Goosebumps</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> series celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Stine’s impact on the horror genre is clear - and he’s agreed to write another six books.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I don’t know how I did it,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Back in the day I was writing a </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Goosebumps</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and a </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fear Street</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> book every month.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’d been writing for 20 years and no-one had noticed - and then to suddenly have that kind of success was exhilarating. It just kept me going.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’ve definitely topped 300 books now. How crazy do you have to be to write 300 books?”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With two of the films already available to watch, Netflix will likely be monitoring how </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fear Street</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is received - with so much RL Stine material to go off, it could be the start of a series of spin-offs.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: RL Stine / Instagram</span></em></p>

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A frontline nurse’s gripping story

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When Melbourne was plunged into rounds of lockdowns during the first months of the global coronavirus pandemic, two friends answered the call to join the frontline as nurses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After spending years as a family violence educator and sexual health nurse, Simone Sheridan put her hand up to retrain and work as an ICU nurse.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over countless phone conversations with her friend Alisa Wild, Simone shared the exhaustion, confusion, tears and surprising moments as she faced the greatest health crisis her city had ever seen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Then Alisa wrote it all down to form the newly-released book, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Care Factor</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A celebration of friendship and nursing in the time of social distancing, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Care Factor</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has been praised for its ‘behind the scenes’ view into nursing and health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here, we present an excerpt from their gripping tale. </span></p> <p><strong>Chapter 1</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘Like preparing for a war’</span></p> <p><strong>The Crisis Respondent</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s  20  March  and  I’m  in  a  doom  spiral, fear- scrolling and heartbroken. There are twenty-eight new cases of Covid-19 in Victoria. Yesterday 2700 passengers disembarked from the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ruby Princess </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">cruise ship into Sydney. It’s time to keep my three- year-old home from childcare.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’ve been working from home for years, setting up and packing up my laptop from the kitchen table each day. I think of this house as mine alone. Those hours when Jono is at work and Jack’s at childcare, the stretching peace of tea and silence and room for my brain to work; they are what keep me sane.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’m about to give them up. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’m supposed to be writing a children’s book but I can’t focus. I’m afraid.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Instead, I call my friend in Sydney whose grandmother is dying in aged care. Limits on visitors seem to shrink each day. She’s from a big Greek family and everything feels wrong about her Yiayia being alone for a second. There should be cousins and great-grandchildren and love all around her for these final days. My friend manages to get permission for her children to come in for a ten-minute visit to say goodbye. With her own full-time work, the domestic load, and the children in her face, she sounds like she doesn’t have time to grieve.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I call my single friend who is just back from an overseas work trip. She’s in quarantine at home alone – facing lockdown as soon as her quarantine time ends. She’s been sharing articles about skin- hunger and loneliness. I bite back my envy of her space, my longing to be alone. And I listen to her sadness.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I call my friend who is helping to care for her bedridden father. He has a slow, debilitating terminal illness. Someone needs to wake with him several times a night to help with toileting because his bladder is shot. My friend is living several nights a week at their house, trying to share the load, dressing in cobbled-together homemade PPE when she does the shopping.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I call my friend who’s living on Centrelink with two kids and training to be a nurse. I check that she’s got the tech she needs for remote learning.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I call my friend whose work as a touring theatre performer  stopped overnight to find out how she’s planning to manage financially.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I call my friend who’s a high school teacher. He is spending the entire school holidays planning how to deliver distance learning.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I feel like they are all superheroes. I feel like I am part of a great network of carers who are holding up the world and I hope my phone calls lighten the burden. I realise that the phrase, ‘Love makes the world go around’ isn’t actually about the nice feeling I have in my chest sometimes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s talking about the hard, endless, soft, sleepless, exhausting labour of caring for our people.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That labour just got a whole lot harder. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I call Simone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I make my first recorded call to talk about how she’s feeling as the lockdowns roll in. Wu Han, Seoul, California, New Zealand … and now us. I’ve been listening to ICU nurses in New York talking about their days. The danger. The deaths. The lack of PPE. I want to know exactly what’s happening here in the hospitals near me.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I asked her how she came to decide.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘I guess I felt: I’m up for this. I’ve got ICU experience. I’m fit and healthy and I’ve got good support. So, I’m going to give it a go. For me, there wasn’t  a  question.  Sure,  there’s  a  part  of  me  that would love to just bury my head in the sand but…’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But people need her help. At the first ICU orientation session, the message Sim heard was, ‘We need you. Please come and do whatever you can. If you only come in for two hours to relieve tea breaks, at least that’s something.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She is part of a huge cohort of nurses returning to ICU from other places – education, project management, retirement or maternity leave.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sim will be stepping back a little from her other role: training health professionals to recognise and respond to signs of family violence in their patients. ‘The thing is,’ she tells me, ‘all the face-to-face training I was doing has ceased. We can’t have people in a room together. No-one’s got time. It’s not the priority right now.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She’s obviously conflicted about this.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘We know from data around bushfires and other crises that we’re going to end up with an escalation in family violence incidents. Isolation at home will just make it …’ She breaks off. ‘It’s really hard for a lot of people. Really fucking hard.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She explains that, on top of increasing incidences, the family violence services have to find ways to operate with social distancing. ‘Social workers are having to figure out what they can do online, from their homes. The refuges are asking questions like, can they take people who’ve been in hospital, or might they be a risk to other people in the refuge?’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I feel the issues expand in front of me. Of people living in crisis accommodation, of children in state care, of prisoners. How are we, as a society, going to keep people safe?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘So, I’m hearing all this info about family violence and my emails are full of it and my job is to make sure hospital staff have an eye open for it. But you can imagine the barrage of information going through hospitals at the moment. People are trying to filter what they need to know from pages of writing. They just don’t have time for it. I wrote one email about the increases in family violence we’re expecting. I probably went over it 20 million times trying to make it as succinct and easy to read as I could.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Her frustration levels are high. This is not surprising, when all she can do is send emails people might not read.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘I don’t have the ability to talk to people about all the details. All I can do is flag it and make sure they know where to look for resources.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She’ll keep working at that for now. But she’s also getting ready for something very different. She had her first training in ICU yesterday.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘It was, quite hilariously, the most welcoming experience I’ve ever had there.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She pauses to explain. ‘Background: ICUs can be snobbish places in the sense that you have to meet certain criteria to work there. They’re very strict</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">about it. If you haven’t worked there for a while, they will only take you back under specific conditions – so you can receive support and training.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It makes sense to me. This is about life and death. You need to get it right.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘But  we  just  don’t  have  the  ability  to  run  ICUs with the number of staff this pandemic will require. Things are changing fast and we need to think outside the box. Suddenly it feels like ICU is rolling out the red carpet. They’re just having to say, “We want you. We want all of you.”’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s been five years since Sim worked regularly in an ICU and when she did it was at a smaller, more specialised unit. She’s never worked in a big trauma ICU like at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. I ask her how she’s feeling about it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘I’m incredibly nervous. You can imagine that there are a lot of machines. And there are a </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">lot </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">of things to remember. There’s a lot of immediate recall of  what  to  do  at  each  point  that  really  isn’t  fresh for me.’ Her voice rises. ‘And there was a woman in my  group  yesterday  who  hasn’t  worked  in  ICU  for eighteen years!’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On the recording of our conversation, you can hear me gasp, ‘Eighteen years! The tech must have </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">really </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">changed for people like her.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sim equivocates. ‘Yeah, but interestingly, a lot of the principles haven’t. Bodies are still the same.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Blood pressures are still controlled in the same way. The tech has changed for sure, but some of it’s become more intuitive.’ She laughs. ‘You know, like how using an iPhone is actually easier than using an old Nokia.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sim explains the way ICUs are run. If a patient is on a ventilator, they have a nurse dedicated solely to them, who does not leave the bedside. The machines control how many breaths they take, the volume of air with each breath and the concentration of oxygen they receive. Medications are delivered by pumps to control blood pressure and heart rate. The nurse is always there, monitoring the machines and adapting settings and dosages in response to changes in the patient’s vital signs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘I stupidly started the day by reading stories from nurses living the nightmare that is ICU in London right now.’ Her voice rises with incredulity. ‘I read they only have one ICU nurse to </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">six </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">patients.’ I can feel the tension rolling down the phone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Royal Melbourne usually has thirty-two ICU beds and they’re looking to open ninety-nine in preparation for the pandemic. ‘So, if we are going to ninety-nine beds, then we need to triple the number of staff, and there’s just </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">not that many ICU nurses</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Even with all of us coming back from retirement and out of projects, there’s a gap. So, they’re also training up  a  cohort  of  nurses  who haven’t worked in ICU before; they’re calling them Fast Track nurses.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She says they’re not just training. They’re also ‘untraining’.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘They always talk about </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">danger to self</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Don’t go in if there’s a danger to you. But nurses are inherently bad at that. If someone suddenly pulls out a breathing tube or is bleeding everywhere, we tend to go straightin. We should wear gloves, of course, but in that moment, we often just do what we can to save that person’s life – then deal with ourselves later.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They’ve been training in how to put on Covid PPE. They have to pay attention to exactly how they handle the mask and breathe strongly to test if they have a seal. The mask is tight-fitting and takes time to get it on. It takes time to get it right.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘If I look into a room and someone’s arresting, I can’t rush in and save that person’s life. I have to diligently put my mask on and focus on myself first. It’s actually going to be really hard.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But Sim’s trainer told them, ‘Look, the thing is, how many other people won’t make it if we lose one ICU nurse for fourteen days? Even if you’re not sick, you’ll have to isolate and that has an impact on how many people we could actually save.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘Yeah, that was just huge.’ She laughs her disbelief. She explains that the ‘pods’ of the intensive care unit will be divided to stop the spread of infection. ‘Initially, they’ll put Covid patients into the isolation</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">rooms, but there are only eight. Once the isolation rooms are full, then they’ll go into Pod A and B which can be locked into Pandemic Mode. And then, of course, there will still be all the patients in ICU  who  don’t  have  Covid  –  so  they’ll  be  in  the other pods.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘And then just … we don’t know what will happen. But that’s the initial plan.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’m worried about older nurses coming out of retirement, back onto the wards and being put in the way of infection. I’m worried about the fresh new mothers who had months of maternity leave planned and are suddenly, instead, stepping back into a risk- filled workplace. I’m afraid of our hospital system being overwhelmed. My sister lives in London and works for the National Health Service. Just days ago, she was telling me about clearing entire mental health hospitals to make way for palliative care wards. Wards for the Covid patients over sixty who they won’t be ventilating. Who will quite probably die.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’m scared for my parents who are far away in New South Wales. Sim’s parents are even further, in Western Australia.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But we don’t talk about our families.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s easier to focus on the details of the organisation and planning underway. It feels both compelling and reassuring.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘They’re trying to work out an estimate as to when we expect to see patients at the hospital. When we expect to be flooded. And the interesting thing is, they don’t think it will peak for us until late April.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The hospital was planning to roll out a new system of electronic medical records in April but they’ve slammed the brakes on that. They don’t want to be training hundreds of staff how to operate a whole different record-keeping system in the middle of a global pandemic. They’ll do it in July, when hopefully the peak will be over.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘We’re going into a period now of potentially four weeks of not much happening from a hospital perspective. So, we have this amazing benefit of time to prepare in a way that Italy didn’t. And the UK didn’t. Those countries were flooded with ICU needs before they had time to think what was happening.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">‘Whereas we don’t have any patients with Covid at the moment at Royal Melbourne, so we’re in total preparation mode. Teams are being formed. People are being brought on. Recruitment is happening.’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sim pauses and slows. ‘It’s weird. It’s like preparing for a war, but the war’s not here yet.’</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is an extract from </span><a href="https://www.hardiegrant.com/au/publishing/bookfinder/book/the-care-factor-by-ailsa-wild/9781743797273"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Care Factor</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the story of one incredible nurse who chose to join the frontline combating an unprecedented global health crisis (Hardie Grant Publishing Australia), out now.</span></em></p>

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Reporters’ book holds new insights on Trump

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A new book penned by </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Washington Post </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">reporters Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta has become a source of </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jun/29/trump-white-house-covid-taskforce-fauci" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">shocking revelations</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> about the Trump administration at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Titled </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.harpercollins.com/products/nightmare-scenario-yasmeen-abutalebdamian-paletta" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nightmare Scenario</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic that Changed History</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the authors reported on Trump’s contempt for the COVID taskforce chaired by vice-president Mike Pence, which Trump took to referring as “that f****ing council that Mike has” as the pandemic worsened.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The authors wrote that his derisive term for the taskforce was “a signal that he wished it would go away” and “didn’t want anyone to exert leadership”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Many on the taskforce didn’t want the responsibility either, fearful of the consequences.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The book also revealed that Trump wanted to send Americans infected with the virus to Guantanamo Bay and that he hoped his former aide John Bolton would be “taken out” by COVID-19.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The book also examined the influence of “outside consultants” on Trump that undermined the work of the president’s scientific advisors.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This included unofficial advisor Stephen Moore, who the authors said acted as Trump’s “emissary [from] the conservative establishment” and “strode into the Oval Office to convince the president” to end shutdowns and kickstart the economy as cases continued to spiral and the death toll in the US passed 1,000 people.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Moore is an economist who was nominated to the board of the Federal Reserve in 2019 by Trump, but withdrew after the Guardian and other outlets reported on controversies in his past.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Moore told Abutaleb and Paletta that Trump’s promise to reopen the US economy by Easter 2020 was “the smart thing to do” because “the economic costs of this are mounting and there’s not a lot of evidence that lockdowns are working to stop the spread”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He has also been quoted attacking Dr Anthony Fauci, a former member of the COVID taskforce and the current chief medical advisor to Joe Biden.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Fauci is the villain here,” Moore said. “He has the Napoleon complex, and he thinks he is the dictator who could decide how to run the country.”</span></p>

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The search for ‘La Botaniste’

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sorting through your attic or garage can lead to interesting discoveries and mementos from the past, and staff at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have made a surprising discovery doing just that.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While going through old plant books, they found poems, doodles, plant specimens, and a cartoon tucked away inside a copy of </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The English Flora</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> from 1830.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The owner, Isabella A Allen, appeared to be a keen plant woman. But, her name has since been lost to history.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She may be the 19th century botanical illustrator who we know little about, or she could be one of the many uncelebrated women with a passion for plants during the 19th century.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Either way, the RHS is hoping to identify who she is and find out more about her life.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“All we’ve got is a reasonably common name and lots of contextual stuff that she’s interested in biology,” said Fiona Davison, the head of libraries and exhibitions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“What I’m hoping is that somebody is aware in their family tree of an Isabella A Allen, that they’ve got any information about being a botanical artist or involved in botany.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Staff also found a collection of pressed flowers in the book, written by Sir James Edward Smith, which gives them a further insight into her knowledge of plants.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I think she clearly is a keen botanist because pressed in a number of pages are wild flowers,” Fiona said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kidney vetch, cranesbill, lousewort, and sow thistle among others were found.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They’re wildflowers when you’re out on a botanising trip you would have picked up, identified with the help of the book and pressed.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the book itself isn’t rare, the annotations, bookmarks, and cartoon make it unique from the many other copies the RHS owns. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Staff came across the find while going through boxes of books ahead of the combining or their two collections in new laboratories.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I don’t think that this volume had been opened in decades. It’s just been sat in an attic in Wisley,” Fiona said. “We opened this little one and we were really amazed to find all of this additional material left by its original owner.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As well as an annotation reading “this is the book of Isabella A Allen”, a print known as a personification was also found inside.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Personifications, printed and sold as sheets, depicted people made up of artefacts that embody their character or tools of their trade.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The one found inside Isabella’s book depicted a person made of flowers and vegetables, which was produced by a male midwife and surgeon called George Spratt.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The book also contains a handwritten poem that appears to be an adaptation of a common poem, including a reference to botanists filling a garden with plants with Greek and Latin names.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the RHS has unsuccessfully attempted to track her down, it’s hoped someone can help them solve the mystery.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We hope that we’ll be able to share it with people and show it in the new library as part of the wider effort we’re making to encourage people to take an interest in the plants that are growing around them in the same way that Ms Allen did,” Fiona said.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: The Royal Horticultural Society</span></em></p>

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Princess Diana's voice coach's sweet promise to her sons

<p>Princess Diana's voice coach Stewart Pearce has opened up about his experience with working with the late royal in his new book Diana: The Voice of Change.</p> <p>The biography is almost 25 years in the making after Pearce kept a decades-long promise to Princess Diana after she sought him out after the controversial Panorama interview in 1995.</p> <p>This interview is where she famously said that there "were three of us in the marriage", meaning herself, Prince Charles and his now-wife Camilla.</p> <p>"She sought me out after that Panorama interview because she looked at herself on screen and realized that she wasn't appearing to be as powerful as she wanted to be. She felt quite submissive," Pearce tells T&amp;C.</p> <p>"She wanted to try and find a way of really balancing her private self with her public persona so that there is no change between the two—so she could stand on a platform and render forth whatever she needed to say, but feel good about it, to feel relaxed, to feel confident, to feel empowered, and to feel harmony."</p> <p>She and Pearce spoke about a book about their time together before she died in a car crash, but she was insistent that she didn't want the book published until her sons, Prince Harry and Prince William, were settled in their lives.</p> <p>"When we were working together during the latter stages of her life—not that we knew that then, of course, her death came as a very surprising, shocking, horrific event—but she said to me, 'Wouldn't it be wonderful if all this work we've done became a book? And I said, 'Yeah, that would be wonderful. Wouldn't it?'</p> <p>She said, "Yes, but don't write it until the boys are married, because then they're going to be exploring their own power in the world and discovering their own sovereignty.' And that was just a passing statement, so I thought that was rather amusing, but I waited until now."</p> <p>He wanted to document Diana's "essence" instead of the time they spent together.</p> <p>"I wrote the book because I felt that there was something very valuable to say about Diana's soul what allowed her to ignite the radiance that she brought forth into the world," he says.</p> <p>"[Most biographies] chronicle Diana's life, as though they were social diaries. And I chose not to do that. I wanted to go to the very essence of who she was and to talk about the quality of her soul, which was just so remarkable in its beauty, in its loving, in its compassion, in its empathy."</p>

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The secret art of “letterlocking”

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Before the use of envelopes, people used ingenious methods to prevent prying eyes from reading their letters.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One such person was Mary Queen of Scots, who composed her last ever letter from prison. The night before she was to be executed, she penned a letter to her brother-in-law, then folded it up to secure the message from her captors - especially her cousin Queen Elizabeth I.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To do this, Mary cut a thin strip from the paper’s margin, then folded her letter into a small rectangle. After making a small hole in the rectangle with a knife, she then fed the strip through and looped and tightened it a few times, creating a “spiral lock”. Though no wax or glue was needed, any interceptors would have to break the strip to read the letter so her brother-in-law would know if another had read it before him.</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dzPE1MCgXxo" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mary Queen of Scots wasn’t the only person to use this technique of “letterlocking”, which had become a common skill used throughout Europe from 1250-1815 AD. By folding and cutting letters in these kinds of patterns, people could hide their correspondence from unwanted readers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This isn’t something special that people do on special occasions. This is how you send a letter before the envelope is invented,” said Daniel Starza Smith, a lecturer in Early Modern English literature at King’s College London.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So if it’s a business letter, if it’s a love letter, if it’s a spy letter, if it’s a diplomatic letter, they’re all using letterlocking. So it’s not something confined to experts, royalty or spymasters,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Anyone who is capable of sending a letter is using letterlocking.”</span></p> <p><strong>A rediscovered skill</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our understanding of letterlocking has only developed in the last 20 years, after conservator Jana Dambrogio found evidence of the practice on letters from a cache of unrepaired 16th century Italian documents. Though the tears, creases, and folds could be mistaken for damage by an untrained eye, Dambrogio realised what they were and took her observations back to the United States.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There are probably thousands of letters of the Vatican, but this handful that I modelled started to help us build the language of letterlocking,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After connecting with Starza Smith, Dambrogio and her colleagues have continued to search for more locked letters.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over time, Starza Smith and Dambrogio developed a “periodic table” of letterlocking, which includes 18 different methods that vary in complexity.</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/32_JDoi5HGY" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The team have produced demonstrations of how many of these locks are made and have used X-ray techniques to virtually read letters without opening them.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Unlocking History Research Group</span></em></p>

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John le Carré’s final novel set to be published

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">John le Carré’s final novel will be posthumously published this October by publisher Viking.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Le Carré’s final novel, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Silverview</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, was completed prior to his death in December 2020 and the release has the author’s full blessing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The author, best known for his espionage thrillers like </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Spy Who Came in from the Cold</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, passed away of pneumonia aged 89. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Before his death, le Carré finished the manuscript that would become </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Silverview</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and had been writing two other books - </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Legacy of Spies</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Agent Running in the Field</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> - which were unfinished.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Silverview</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> follows bookshop owner Julian Lawndsley, who becomes the centre of an investigation into an intelligence leak by a London spy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The novel is set to be published in New Zealand on October 14, 2021, in the same week as le Carré’s 90th birthday.</span></p>

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Local croc becomes childrens’ book star

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A crocodile living in Constant Creek in North Queensland has become a video sensation, with footage of the reptile racking up hundreds of thousands of views on social media and prompting a local author to write a book on the creature.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I reckon he’s one of the most-filmed crocodiles in Australia,” local boating enthusiast Shannon Burke said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A lot of the older fishermen that have been there definitely know him,” she said.</span></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fmichellewilsondreamweaver%2Fposts%2F284088089869208&amp;show_text=true&amp;width=500" width="500" height="1044" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true" allow="autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; picture-in-picture; web-share"></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The many trips author and primary school teacher Michelle Wilson would take up and along Constant Creek inspired her to include the well-known croc as the main character in the children’s book <em>Crocs Don’t Do Yoga</em>.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“My mum and daughter were playing a weird game one day to be crocodiles snapping at each other,” Ms Wilson said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“And I don’t know what happened but I just came up with the character, Connie the Croc from Constant Creek.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“At the same time I was doing a lot of yoga, so I just married the two concepts together.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The book tells the story of a snappy crocodile that can’t control its anger – until some friends from Constant Creek suggest yoga.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it came to publishing her book, Ms Wilson said it was difficult to know where to start.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s a pretty saturated market, you’ve got a lot of excellent writers and celebrities writing [kids’ books].”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Locals are happy enough seeing their favourite reptile receive even more recognition.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The fishermen all seem to love and respect him,” Ms Burke said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’ve got a lot of friends that backpack and one of their first questions is, ‘Where’s the best place to see crocodiles?’</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“One of our local creeks just north of Mackay is one of the best places to go.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite the relaxed nature of Constant Creek’s reptile resident, the Queensland Department of Environment urges people to be “Crocwise” when encountering them, by reporting sightings, staying away from the water’s edge and avoiding feeding them.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Michelle Wilson / Facebook</span></em></p>

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Meghan Markle’s book’s poor debut

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Meghan Markle’s new children’s book has had an inauspicious start as sales dive and critics seem unimpressed.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Bench</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> debuted at number 60 on Amazon’s children’s books chart but failed to make the top 200 bestsellers list.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sales have been poor despite a $5.50 reduction on its initial $24 cover price on the website.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Within hours of its release, WH Smith had marked its copies with “buy one get one half price” stickers according to </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Sun</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A $5.50 discount was also seen at Waterstones in Piccadilly, central London.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The poor performance comes after Kate Middleton’s photography book, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hold Still</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, hit the number two spot on Amazon on its release date in May.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Duchess of Sussex said the book was based on a poem she had penned for Prince Harry on Father’s Day.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dedicating the 34-page book to him and son Archie, she called them “the man and boy who make my heart go pump-pump.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it came to reviews, the book was dismissed by online critics as a vanity project that should have stayed in the family.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alex O’Connell, arts editor at </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Times</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, said: “The story is so lacking in action and jeopardy you half wonder if the writing job was delegated to a piece of furniture.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The book, illustrated by US illustrator Christian Robinson, shows Meghan cradling newborn daughter Lillibet while Harry and Archie feed chickens.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A diverse group of fathers and their growing sons are also shown connecting over life’s simple pleasures throughout the book, which tells the story of an eternal bond between a father and son as witnessed through the eyes of a mother.</span></p>

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5 minutes with author Christine Sykes

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">5 minutes with author</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over60</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> asks book writers about their literary habits and preferences. Next in the series is Christine Sykes, a novelist and memoir writer based on Sydney’s south coast. After working as a Public Servant for 30 years and volunteering at Dress for Success Sydney for four, Sykes is now enjoying life’s simple pleasures and is regularly involved in tap dancing, acting, painting, and playing the flute. Her debut novel, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Changing Room</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> was inspired by the experiences of the women behind the charity Dress for Success. Her latest title, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gough and Me</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, is out now.</span></p> <p> </p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over60</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> talked with Sykes about writing routines, Jenny Hocking, and tough reads.</span></p> <p><strong>Over60:What book do you think more people should read?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Aside from my two books! There are so many wonderful Australian writers to choose from.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The book I think people should read to get an understanding of the way history can be manipulated is </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Palace Letters</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by Jenny Hocking. It is a gripping account of the ground-breaking work undertaken to reveal the truth behind the sacking of the Whitlam government and the extraordinary steps to hide that truth.</span></p> <p><strong>How did you make the transition from the Public Service to writing?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While I was in the public service in Canberra, I undertook short creative writing courses at ANU. This resulted in me writing many short stories and rediscovering my love of children’s stories.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When I retired, I decided to treat it as a writing sabbatical and try writing longer works. The Year of Novel Writing course at Writing NSW, gave me a structure to my time and a great foundation for writing my first published book, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Changing Room</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">. I continued to explore writing through other courses and writing groups which led to the publication of my memoir, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gough and Me</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><strong> What was the last book that made you laugh?</strong></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by Joanna Nell was hilarious, and a book I wish I’d written.</span> </p> <p><strong>What does your writing routine look like?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most of my writing is done in the morning, which is my most creative time. I usually begin writing in longhand in exercise books, and move to typing on the computer when the story has taken shape. The afternoons are good for walking and letting the story settle in the back of my brain where new connections are made. Some people call this composting and it’s an important part of my creative process.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When I edit, I tend to work into the afternoon and often find different places to read the manuscript, which gives me an alternative perspective.</span></p> <p><strong>What is your best writing tip?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Invest in your writing, through whatever means are available to you, such as doing a course, having a professional mentor or editor, being part of a writing group or having a writing friend. This really helped me when I didn’t feel like writing or was questioning my ability to write. I also give myself permission to write badly – it’s better to have something on the page which I can then edit and mould, than swirling thoughts in my head.</span> </p> <p><strong>Which author, deceased or living, would you most like to have dinner with?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My first choice would be Anais Nin – a prolific writer of journals, novels and essays. I adored her descriptions of the soirees she held in Paris with interesting people from the arts, politics and life. I hope she’d bring some with her and would love for her to include Gough and Margaret Whitlam.</span></p> <p>What do you do when you can’t seem to finish reading a book?</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Usually I push through, hoping the author will grip me again, and sometimes I skip sections which are less interesting. There have only been a few books which I have abandoned.</span></p>

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