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Fergie taps into personal lineage for her inspired first novel

<p><span>Sarah ‘Fergie’ Ferguson has a new fictional novel coming to the shelf, which is inspired by her family history.</span><br /><br /><span>The Duchess of York has taken on the challenge of portraying her great-great-aunt Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas and is set to be released in August.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7839480/sarah-ferguson-novel-a-heart-for-the-compass.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b07cae45e9f24b41b7caf25fc7536780" /><br /><br /><span>The former wife of Prince Andrew has released children's books in the past, but became inspired for her new novel when she was “researching” her ancestry.</span><br /><br /><span>“Digging into the history of the Montagu-Douglas Scotts, I first came across Lady Margaret, who intrigued me because she shared one of my given names,” she said.</span><br /><br /><span>“But although her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, were close friends with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, I was unable to discover much about my namesake’s early life, and so was born the idea which became Her Heart for a Compass.</span><br /><br /><span>“With real historical events and facts to hand, my imagination took over.”<br /><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7839478/sarah-ferguson-novel-a-heart-for-the-compass-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/e8539deadd15429689a5a634e773b11f" /></span><br /><br /><span>The 61-year-old went on to say: “I invented a history for her that incorporated real people and events, including some of my other ancestors.</span><br /><br /><span>“I created a friendship between my heroine and Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s sixth child, and I drew on many parallels from my life for Lady Margaret’s journey.</span><br /><br /><span>“I have long held a passion for historical research and telling the stories of strong women in history through film and television.</span><br /><br /><span>“I am proud to bring my personal brand of historical fiction to the publishing world.”</span><br /><br /><span>Despite Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson divorcing in 1996, the pair still remain great friends and live together at the Royal Lodge in London.</span></p>

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The Wind in the Willows — a tale of wanderlust, male bonding, and timeless delight

<p>Like several classics penned during the golden age of children’s literature, The Wind in the Willows was written with a particular child in mind.</p> <p>Alastair Grahame was four years old when his father Kenneth — then a secretary at the Bank of England — began inventing bedtime stories about the reckless ruffian, Mr Toad, and his long-suffering friends: Badger, Rat, and Mole.</p> <p>Alastair, born premature and partially blind, was nicknamed “Mouse”. Small, squinty, and beset by health problems, he was bullied at school. His rapture in the fantastic was later confirmed by his nurse, who recalled hearing Kenneth “up in the night-nursery, telling Master Mouse some ditty or other about a toad”.</p> <p>The Wind in the Willows evolved from Alastair’s bedtime tales into a series of letters Grahame later sent his son while on holiday in Littlehampton. In the story, a quartet of anthropomorphised male animals wander freely in a pastoral land of leisure and pleasure — closely resembling the waterside haven of Cookham Dean where Grahame himself grew up.</p> <p>In peaceful retreat from “The Wide World”, Rat, Mole, Badger, and Toad spend their days chatting, philosophising, pottering, and ruminating on the latest fashions and fads. But when the daredevil, Toad, takes up motoring, he becomes entranced by wild fantasies of the road. His concerned friends must intervene to restrain his whims, teaching him “to be a sensible toad”.</p> <p>Unlike Toad’s recuperative ending, however, Alastair’s story did not end happily. In the spring of 1920, while a student at Oxford, he downed a glass of port before taking a late night stroll. The next morning, railway workers found his decapitated body on tracks near the university. An inquest determined his death a likely suicide but out of respect for his father, it was recorded as an accident.</p> <p>Kenneth Grahame, by all accounts, never recovered from the loss of his only child. He became increasingly reclusive, eventually abandoning writing altogether.</p> <p>In his will, he gifted the original manuscript of Willows to the Bodleian Library, along with the copyrights and all his royalties. Upon his death in 1932, he was buried in Oxford next to his first reader, Mouse.</p> <p>A ‘gay manifesto’?<br />Biographical readings are a staple in children’s literature, and the criticism surrounding The Wind in the Willows is no exception. First published in 1908 — the same year as Anne of Green Gables and Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz — the novel was initially titled The Mole and the Water-Rat. After back and forth correspondence with Grahame, his publisher Sir Algernon Methuen wrote to say he had settled on The Wind in the Willows because of its “charming and wet sound”.</p> <p>Today, one of the mysteries surrounding the novel is the meaning of the title. The word “willows” does not appear anywhere in the book; the single form “willow” appears just twice.</p> <p>When Willows was first released in Britain it was marketed as an allegory — “a fantastic and whimsical satire upon life”, featuring a cast of woodland and riverside creatures who were closer to an Edwardian gentlemen’s club than a crowd of animals. Indeed, the adventures structuring the novel are the meanderings of old English chaps nostalgic for another time.</p> <p>The four friends, though different in disposition, are bound by their “divine discontent and longing”.</p> <p>Restless enough to be easily bewitched, they are rich enough to fill their days with long picnics and strolls. Most chapters are sequenced in chronological order, but the action revolves around different types of wandering – pottering around the garden, messing about in boats, rambling along country lanes.</p> <p>With the exception of a brief encounter with a jailer’s daughter, an overweight barge woman, and a careless mother hedgehog, there are no women in Willows. And excluding a pair of young hedgehogs and a group of field mice, all male, there are no children either.</p> <p>Given the novel’s strong homosocial subtext and absence of female characters, the story is often read as an escapist fantasy from Grahame’s unhappy marriage to Elspeth Thomson. Peter Hunt, an eminent scholar of Willows, describes the couple’s relationship as “sexually arid” and suggests Grahame’s sudden resignation from the bank in 1908 was due to bullying on the basis of his sexuality.</p> <p>Indeed, Hunt ventures to call the book “a gay manifesto”, reading it as a gay allegory heavy with suppressed desire and latent homoeroticism. In one scene, for example, Mole and Rat “shake off their garments” and “tumble in-between the sheets in great joy and contentment”.</p> <p>Earlier, while sharing a bed in the open air, Mole “reaches out from under his blanket, feels for the Rat’s paw in the darkness, and gives it a squeeze.” “I’ll do whatever you like, Ratty,” he whispers.</p> <p>For this reason, and others, some critics suggest that Willows is not a children’s book at all, but a novel for adults that can be enjoyed by children.</p> <p>Conservatism<br />Whether we read Willows as a simple animal story or a social satire, the narrative reinforces the status quo. Badger, for instance, resembles a gruff headmaster whose paternal concern for his friends extends to an earnest attempt to reform the inebriate Toad.</p> <p>Toad is a recognisable type of schoolboy, charming and impulsive but wildly arrogant and lacking self-control. In the end, he is punished for his foolish behaviour and forced to forgo his flamboyant egotism in humble resignation at Toad Hall. Similarly, Mole and Ratty are afflicted by wanderlust, but inevitably retreat to their cosy, subterranean homes. All of Grahame’s animals return to their “proper” place.</p> <p>This return to civility and quiet domesticity exemplifies a criticism often levelled at children’s literature: that such stories are more about the fears and desires of adults than those of children. (Alice in Wonderland, for instance, emphasises the importance of curiosity and imagination, but is also an attempt to socialise children into responsible citizenship.)</p> <p>Willows is a story about homecoming and friendship, but also a psychodrama about uncontrolled behaviour and addiction in Edwardian England.</p> <p>Creatures of habit<br />Perhaps the most famous scene in Willows — now also a popular ride at Disneyland — is Mr Toad’s Wild Ride. In the novel, the incautious Toad, who is oddly large enough to drive a human-sized car, is frequently in trouble with the law and even imprisoned due to his addiction to joyriding.</p> <p>At times delusional, the self-proclaimed “terror of the highway” writes off several vehicles before spiralling into a cycle of car theft, dangerous driving, and disorderly behaviour.</p> <p>Eventually, Toad’s motorcar mania becomes so unmanageable that his exasperated friends are forced to stage “a mission of mercy” – a “work of rescue” that contemporary readers might recognise as an intervention. This subtext of addiction underpins the arc of recovery, and is crucial for understanding the novel’s key themes: the limits of friendship, the loss of pastoral security, and the temptations of city life.</p> <p>Interestingly, in Badger’s attempt to help Toad break the cycle of withdrawal and recovery, and in Toad’s temporary abatement and relapse, the text points to another form of addiction: to alcohol.</p> <p>When Toad is banished to his country retreat — a typical “cure” for upper-class alcoholism at the time — Badger stresses he will remain in enforced confinement “until the poison has worked itself out of his system” and his “violent paroxysms” have passed.</p> <p>Again, the biographical foundation of the work is clear. Grahame’s father, Cunningham, was an alcoholic whose heavy drinking resulted, like Toad’s intoxication, in social exile, financial strain, and the loss of the family home.</p> <p>In The Wind in the Willows, Grahame employs animals to render all the ups and downs of human experience. In doing so, he captures the conflict and consonance between freedom and captivity, tradition and modernity.</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Kate Cantrell. This article first appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/guide-to-the-classics-the-wind-in-the-willows-a-tale-of-wanderlust-male-bonding-and-timeless-delight-151091">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

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"Undisputed giant", John Le Carré dies at age 89

<p>John le Carré, who was responsible for some of the most thrilling literary works, has died aged 89.</p> <p>Le Carré is the mastermind behind novels The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Night Manager, which garnered critical acclaim and made him a bestseller around the world.</p> <p>His family confirmed his passing on Sunday, revealing pneumonia as the cause.</p> <p>He died at the Royal Cornwall Hospital on Saturday.</p> <p>“We all deeply grieve his passing,” they wrote in a statement.</p> <p>His longtime agent Jonny Geller described him as “an undisputed giant of English literature. He defined the cold war era and fearlessly spoke truth to power in the decades that followed … I have lost a mentor, an inspiration and most importantly, a friend. We will not see his like again.”</p> <p>His peers lined up to pay tribute. Stephen King wrote: “This terrible year has claimed a literary giant and a humanitarian spirit.” Robert Harris said the news had left him “very distressed … one of the great postwar British novelists, and an unforgettable, unique character.” Adrian McKinty described Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as “quite simply the greatest spy novel ever written”, while historian Simon Sebag Montefiore called him “the titan of English literature up there with the greats … in person, captivating and so kind and generous to me and many others.”</p> <p>Born as David Cornwell in 1931, Le Carré started working for the secret services while studying German in Switzerland at the end of the 1940s.</p> <p>He went on to teach at Eton and later joined the British Foreign Service as an intelligence officer.</p> <p>Inspired by his colleague at MI5, the novelist John Bigham, he began to publish thrillers under the pseudonym of John le Carré.</p>

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Roald Dahl’s family makes official apology for anti-Semitic comments

<p><span>The family of Roald Dahl has apologised for the late author’s “prejudiced” anti-Semitic comments.</span><br /><br /><span>Dahl is considered “one of the world’s most imaginative, successful and loved storytellers” – and wrote many children’s classics including “Matilda”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach”.</span><br /><br /><span>While he died in 1990 at the age of 74, his family has finally acknowledged anti-Semitic comments made more than two decades ago.</span><br /><br /><span>In a post on Dahl’s website, the family wrote they wanted to “deeply apologise for the lasting and understandable hurt caused by some of Roald Dahl’s statements.”</span><br /><br /><span>“Those prejudiced remarks are incomprehensible to us and stand in marked contrast to the man we knew and to the values at the heart of Roald Dahl’s stories, which have positively impacted young people for generations.</span><br /><br /><span>“We hope that, just as he did at his best, at his absolute worst, Roald Dahl can help remind us of the lasting impact of words.”</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7839086/roald-dahl-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ca5dce5612ee48899dfef9f2839db486" /><br /><br /><span>In an interview with the </span><em>New Statesman</em><span> magazine in 1983, the author said: “There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews.”</span><br /><br /><span>“Even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason,” Dahl added.</span><br /><br /><span>He then made another comment in 1990, where he told </span><em>The Independent</em><span>: “I’m certainly anti-Israeli and I’ve become anti-Semitic in as much as that you get a Jewish person in another country like England strongly supporting Zionism.”</span></p>

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5 Australian books about living with disability

<p>Fiction and non-fiction works about disability and Deafness are often hampered by stereotypical representations. A disability is frequently presented as something to “overcome”, or used to characterise someone (ever notice all those evil characters portrayed as disfigured?).</p> <p>These representations obscure the joys, frustrations and creativity of living with disability and Deafness.</p> <p>Dutch author Corinne Duyvis started the #OwnVoices movement on Twitter because she was frustrated that calls for diversity within the publishing industry did not extend to diverse authors. Originating in discussions of young adult fiction, #OwnVoices aims to highlight books written by authors who share a marginalised identity with the protagonist.</p> <p>Life writing also provides firsthand accounts of disability and Deafness, showing what it is like to navigate a world designed for able-bodied people. In addition, these books help people with disability and Deafness learn more about their condition, and create community.</p> <p>Australia has an established literary tradition of writing about disability. Here are five books by Australian disabled writers that reveal insights into their lives and conditions.</p> <p>Read more: Creating and being seen: new projects focus on the rights of artists with disabilities</p> <p><strong>1. Alan Marshall’s Hammers Over the Anvil (1975)</strong></p> <p>Many readers will be familiar with Marshall’s I Can Jump Puddles (1955), the first book in his series about growing up and living with polio in rural Australia.</p> <p>Where that book is a cheerful and somewhat sanitised account of living with a disability, Hammers Over the Anvil (1975), the fourth and final book in Marshall’s series, is more realistic.</p> <p>Marshall’s publisher refused to publish the book, thinking it would tarnish his image. Despite — or perhaps because of — his brutal treatment, Marshall shows a keen sympathy for disenfranchised people and also for animals.</p> <p><strong>2. Donna Williams’ Nobody Nowhere: The Extraordinary Autobiography of an Autistic Girl (1991)</strong></p> <p>Donna Williams was not diagnosed with autism until she was an adult; prior to that she was thought to be deaf and psychotic.</p> <p>Her story begins at age three and is thick with sensory details, which both delight and overwhelm Williams. She recounts interactions with hostile people — including her own mother, who wanted to admit Williams to an institution.</p> <p>This book was the first full-length, published account by a person with autism in Australia. It became an international bestseller, spending 15 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and was translated into 20 languages.</p> <p><strong>3. Gayle Kennedy’s Me, Antman &amp; Fleabag (2007)</strong></p> <p>In this book, Gayle Kennedy, of the Wongaibon people of south west New South Wales, uses a series of engaging vignettes to describe her life as a First Nations woman who had polio.</p> <p>Kennedy was sent away for treatment. When she returned, her parents seemed like strangers; it took a while to readjust. Though the subject matter sounds heavy, this humorous and accessible work is rich with stories about the importance of family (including dogs!) and the impact of racism.</p> <p>It is also an important book because it chronicles some of the experiences of First Nations people with disability. It won the David Unaipon award in 2006.</p> <p><strong>4. Andy Jackson’s Music Our Bodies Can’t Hold (2017)</strong></p> <p>Poet Andy Jackson, who has a condition called Marfan Syndrome that affects the body’s connective tissue, began performing poetry to give himself more control over representations of his body.</p> <p>His collection consists of biographical poems of people with Marfan Syndrome, some of whom he interviewed, and historical figures who are thought to have had the condition, including Abraham Lincoln, the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten, Mary Queen of Scots, composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and blues guitarist Robert Johnson.</p> <p>Poetry, with its focus on voice, is strongly connected to the way that bodies express themselves, often in unique ways. As Jackson writes at the end of his poem Jess:</p> <p><em>now look at this photo and tell me</em></p> <p><em>you still want sameness.</em></p> <p><strong>5. Carly Findlay (ed), Growing Up Disabled in Australia (2021)</strong></p> <p>The final book on my list is one I haven’t read yet — but I cannot wait until I can. Edited by Carly Findley, who has ichthyosis, this collection to be released early next year, will highlight the range of childhoods experienced by people with disability in Australia.</p> <p>We will be able to read about how young people manage ableism and the (sometimes) soreness of not fitting in, and interviews with prominent Australians such as Senator Jordon Steele-John and Paralympian Isis Holt.</p> <p>I lost most of my hearing when I was four, and when I was growing up I didn’t read a single book that featured a character who was Deaf. Books like Growing Up Disabled will help young Deaf and disabled people recognise themselves in Australian literature.</p> <p>In my own hybrid memoir, Hearing Maud, I weave together my experiences of Deafness with those of Maud Praed, the Deaf daughter of 19th century expatriate Australian novelist Rosa Praed.</p> <p>Maud and I were born 100 years apart, and although our lives went in radically different directions many of our circumstances are the same — especially the expectation that we conform to a hearing world. My disability is often invisible, and I wanted to explain the relentless and exhausting attention that is needed for me to function. Deafness is far more complex than simply not hearing.</p> <p>There are thousands more examples of the ways authors can write about living with disability. The International Day of People with Disability is a great time to start reading.</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Jessica White. This article first appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/in-our-own-voices-5-australian-books-about-living-with-disability-150543">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

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11 everyday expressions you didn’t realise were sexist

<p><strong>Words matter</strong><br />As humans, we speak approximately 16,000 words each day. That’s a lot of talking. Unless we’re learning a new language, by the time we’re adults, we do a lot of it without thinking. There are so many factors contributing to why we use the words, phrases and expressions that come out of our mouths on a daily basis, including differences in generation, geographic location, culture and education. Sometimes you may find yourself using a certain word or expression that now, in 2020, may seem archaic or insensitive. And though there is likely no malintent behind your word choice, it might have questionable origins or applications that you’re completely unaware of – like these 12 common expressions that have surprisingly dark origins.</p> <p>Considering that much of western culture and civilisation was built upon the assumption (by men) of male superiority, it makes sense that our language reflects that. For centuries, words and phrases have been used as a way to control women and dictate their behaviour. Here are 12 everyday expressions you didn’t realise were sexist.</p> <p><strong>Hysterical/in hysterics</strong><br />Have you ever described someone as being “in hysterics” or crying “hysterically”? Now, it’s just part of our everyday vocabulary, but its origin story is probably the best example of the multiple ways women have been silenced and dismissed throughout history. It starts with the ancient Greeks, who thought that a woman’s uterus could wander throughout the rest of her body, causing a number of medical and psychological problems, including, but not limited to weakness, shortness of breath, fragility, fainting and general “madness.”</p> <p>Centuries later, Victorian doctors (who were, of course, almost exclusively male) really latched onto the idea that the uterus was the source of essentially any health or psychological problems a woman may face. The diagnosis? Hysteria, based on “hystera,” the Greek word for womb. Female hysteria, as it was known, was a catch-all term for anything men didn’t understand or couldn’t manage relating to women, and was a valid excuse for institutionalising them. There is so much more to this story, but even though “female hysteria” was discredited as a condition – which, by the way, didn’t happen until 1980 – the word and its variations continue to be used to refer to someone who displays extreme and exaggerated excitement or behaviour. “Hysteria” can also mean a period where people are extremely crazed about something, not unlike the coronavirus panic buying earlier this year.</p> <p><strong>Feisty</strong><br />According to Karla Mastracchio, PhD, a rhetorician specialising in gender, politics, and language, the etymology of some words – like feisty – may not include a connection to gender, but the cultural history of the word shows that it has been used almost exclusively along gender lines. “A lot of the words that are particularly gendered have animalistic connotations – feisty being one of them,” she tells Reader’s Digest. “It’s usually used to talk about two things: an unruly animal, or an unruly woman.” But, it’s unlikely to hear an unruly man referred to as being “feisty,” Mastracchio explains, because the word has feline connotations, and it’s typically women who are associated with cats.</p> <p><strong>Career woman</strong><br />A good way to check whether a word or expression is inherently sexist is to ask whether a male equivalent of the word exists. Two of the most prominent examples are “career woman” and “working mother.” Ever heard of a “career man” or “working father”? Of course not. This harkens back to the Victorian ideology of “separate spheres,” meaning that a woman’s domain is the home, while men are in charge of the rest of the world and society, including working. So even 100 years later, when women ventured outside of the home to work, it was considered the exception, not the rule. And of course, if a woman has a career, there was the assumption that she cared about it more than having a family. Remarkably, the expression is still with us today, despite the vast number of women in the workforce.</p> <p><strong>Bubbly</strong><br />In addition to animals, women are also associated with carbonated or otherwise fizzy beverages – usually in reference to their personality. According to Mastracchio, the use of the word “bubbly” to describe women began in the 1920s during the flapper era and Prohibition. Though a popular beverage of the time, champagne – thanks to its bubbles – was seen as frivolous, light and not something that is taken seriously (despite actually having a relatively high alcohol content of 12 percent). As women were making social gains during the era (everything from shorter haircuts and hemlines, to voting rights), referring to them as “bubbly” was a seemingly endearing (though clearly sexist) way of diminishing their intelligence. And as Mastracchio points out, “bubbly” is also used to describe the sound of a woman’s voice, while men’s voices were “booming,” “deep,” or “rich.”</p> <p><strong>Perky</strong><br />As long as we’re on the topic of cute-sounding names that are only applied to women as a method of keeping them in their place, let’s talk about “perky.” Beginning in the 1930s, “perky” was a vulgar term used to describe the physical characteristics of a woman’s breasts, Mastracchio explains. From there, the word evolved to describe someone with a “lighthearted, young, plucky” personality (which, naturally, only applied to women). Interestingly, Mastracchio points out that both “plucky” and “perky” – along with other words like “chirpy,” “perch,” and, of course, “chick” – are examples of using bird imagery to describe women. Although there are both male and female birds in the wild, they are almost exclusively feminised in language and culture.</p> <p><strong>Shrew</strong><br />Most famously used in the Shakespearean play, The Taming of the Shrew, a shrew is a small rodent with a pointy snout which it uses to gnaw things like wood. But men couldn’t resist another opportunity to use an animal to describe women, and the word later came to mean a “peevish, malignant, clamorous, spiteful, vexatious, turbulent woman,” according to a 1755 dictionary written by Samuel Johnson. The reason for this association is thought to be the belief that shrews (the rodent) had a venomous bite, which played a role in various superstitions. A woman considered a “shrew” may also be described using another term reserved for women: shrill.</p> <p><strong>Frigid</strong><br />Yes, “frigid” means “cold,” but there’s a lot more to the story. As Mastracchio points out, this is another example of the Victorian perception of women as being frail and fragile beings, because as a woman, if you got cold, it means you’d be seen as particularly weak. “It’s gendered in the sense that you would never call a male ‘frigid,’ because being cold is not something that is detrimental to one’s masculinity,” she explains. On top of that, “frigidity” was formerly the medical term for a woman who has no interest in being intimate with her husband, or any other type of dysfunction (real or perceived) in that area.</p> <p><strong>Ditzy</strong><br />Though the exact origin of the word “ditzy” remains unknown, it’s another one that is exclusively used to describe a woman’s perceived intelligence (or rather, the lack thereof). “It’s another example of this intrinsic idea that women have their head somewhere else,” Mastracchio says. “You wouldn’t call a man ‘ditzy,’ because men are not categorised in those kinds of boxes. So it’s tapping into the idea that a woman’s physical head is not necessarily always on her shoulders.” Interestingly, the word “ditz” to describe someone who is ditzy, didn’t enter our vocabulary until 1982. Calling someone a “ditz” or “ditzy” immediately frames them as someone who is scatterbrained and not very smart.</p> <p><strong>Hussy</strong><br />Although the word “hussy” has always referred to women, it’s the change in connotation over time that makes it problematic today. Originally, “hussy” was a neutral term used to describe a female head of the household. This makes sense, given that it is a deformed contraction of the Middle English word “husewif,” which, you guessed it, is “housewife.” Traditionally, it was pronounced “huzzy,” but by the 20th century, the pronunciation shifted to match the spelling of the word. And while it started out meaning a housewife, soon “hussy” was used to describe any woman or girl. By 1650, the term was narrowed even further, and used primarily to mean a woman who engages in questionable behaviour.</p> <p><strong>Spinster</strong><br />In yet another example of inequivalent words for men and women in the same position, we have “spinster.” Unmarried adult women are pitiful “spinsters,” while unmarried adult men are eligible “bachelors.” As the name suggests, a “spinster” is a person who spins thread, and originally, it applied to both men and women in that profession. Eventually, it evolved to refer to an unmarried woman who had to occupy her time or financially support herself by spinning thread or yarn. In fact, it became the official legal term for a single woman starting in the 1600s. This remained the case in England and Wales until 2005, when they also retired the word “bachelor” for a single man, according to a 2017 article in Smithsonian Magazine.</p> <p><strong>Governess</strong><br />Hearing the word “governess” may conjure images of the classic 1964 movie, The Sound of Music, and Julie Andrews, who played a nun-turned-governess in the musical. This context – a governess as a woman who takes care of children – is actually pretty sexist when you look back at its origins. Unsurprisingly, it is the female equivalent of a “governor,” or someone who rules or governs over a place or group of people. At least it was in the 15th century. But as time went on, the domain of a governess went from having authority a territory or jurisdiction (in the geographic and political sense) to supervising and caring for children. Yet again, it reinforces the idea that women can be in charge of children and household duties, while men oversee everything else.</p> <p><em>Written by Elizabeth Yuko. This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/our-language/11-everyday-expressions-you-didnt-realise-were-sexist?pages=1">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.com.au/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

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Guide to the classics: A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf’s feminist call to arms

<p>I sit at my kitchen table to write this essay, as hundreds of thousands of women have done before me. It is not my own room, but such things are still a luxury for most women today. The table will do. I am fortunate I can make a living “by my wits,” as Virginia Woolf puts it in her famous feminist treatise, A Room of One’s Own (1929).</p> <p>That living enabled me to buy not only the room, but the house in which I sit at this table. It also enables me to pay for safe, reliable childcare so I can have time to write.<br />It is as true today, therefore, as it was almost a century ago when Woolf wrote it, that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction” — indeed, write anything at all.</p> <p>Still, Woolf’s argument, as powerful and influential as it was then — and continues to be — is limited by certain assumptions when considered from a contemporary feminist perspective.</p> <p>Woolf’s book-length essay began as a series of lectures delivered to female students at the University of Cambridge in 1928. Its central feminist premise — that women writer’s voices have been silenced through history and they need to fight for economic equality to be fully heard — has become so culturally pervasive as to enter the popular lexicon.</p> <p>Julia Gillard’s A Podcast of One’s Own, takes its lead from the essay, as does Anonymous Was a Woman, a prominent arts funding body based in New York.</p> <p>Even the Bechdel-Wallace test, measuring the success of a narrative according to whether it features at least two named women conversing about something other than a man, can be seen to descend from the “Chloe liked Olivia” section of Woolf’s book. In this section, the hypothetical characters of Chloe and Olivia share a laboratory, care for their children, and have conversations about their work, rather than about a man.</p> <p>Woolf’s identification of women as a poorly paid underclass still holds relevance today, given the gender pay gap. As does her emphasis on the hierarchy of value placed on men’s writing compared to women’s (which has led to the establishment of awards such as the Stella Prize).</p> <p><strong>Invisible women</strong><br />In her book, Woolf surveys the history of literature, identifying a range of important and forgotten women writers, including novelists Jane Austen, George Eliot and the Brontes, and playwright Aphra Behn.</p> <p>In doing so, she establishes a new model of literary heritage that acknowledges not only those women who succeeded, but those who were made invisible: either prevented from working due to their sex, or simply cast aside by the value systems of patriarchal culture.</p> <p>To illustrate her point, she creates Judith, an imaginary sister of the playwright Shakespeare.<br />What if such a woman had shared her brother’s talents and was as adventurous, “as agog to see the world” as he was? Would she have had the freedom, support and confidence to write plays? Tragically, she argues, such a woman would likely have been silenced — ultimately choosing suicide over an unfulfilled life of domestic servitude and abuse.<br />In her short, passionate book, Woolf examines women’s letter writing, showing how it can illustrate women’s aptitude for writing, yet also the way in which women were cramped and suppressed by social expectations.</p> <p>She also makes clear that the lack of an identifiable matrilineal literary heritage works to impede women’s ability to write.</p> <p>Indeed, the establishment of those major women writers in the 18th and 19th centuries (George Eliot, the Brontes et al), when “the middle-class woman began to write” is, Woolf argues, a moment in history “of greater importance than the Crusades or the War of the Roses”.</p> <p>Male critics such as T.S. Eliot and Harold Bloom have identified a (male) writer’s relation to his precursors as necessary for his own literary production. But how, Woolf asks, is a woman to write if she has no model to look back on or respond to? If we are women, she wrote, “we think back through our mothers”.</p> <p>Her argument inspired later feminist revisionist work of literary critics like Elaine Showalter, Sandra K. Gilbert and Susan Gubar who sought to restore the reputation of forgotten women writers and turn critical attention to women’s writing as a field worthy of dedicated study.</p> <p>All too often in history, Woolf asserts, “Woman” is simply the object of the literary text — either the adored, voiceless beauty to whom the sonnet is dedicated or reflecting back the glow of man himself.</p> <p><em>Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.</em></p> <p>A Room of One’s Own returns that authority to both the woman writer and the imagined female reader whom she addresses.</p> <p><strong>Stream of consciousness</strong></p> <p>A Room of One’s Own also demonstrates several aspects of Woolf’s modernism. The early sections demonstrate her virtuoso stream of consciousness technique. She ruminates on women’s position in, and relation to, fiction while wandering through the university campus, driving through country lanes, and dawdling over a leisurely, solo lunch.</p> <p>Critically, she employs telling patriarchal interruptions to that flow of thought.<br />A beadle waves his arms in exasperation as she walks on a private patch of grass. A less-than-satisfactory dinner is served to the women’s college. A “deprecating, silvery, kindly gentleman” turns her away from the library. These interruptions show the frequent disruption to the work of a woman without a room.</p> <p>This is the lesson also imparted in Woolf’s 1927 novel To the Lighthouse where artist Lily Briscoe must shed the overbearing influence of Mr and Mrs Ramsay, a couple who symbolise Victorian culture, if she is to “have her vision”. The flights and flow of modernist technique are not possible without the time and space to write and think for herself.<br />A Room of One’s Own has been crucial to the feminist movement and women’s literary studies. But it is not without problems. Woolf admits her good fortune in inheriting £500 a year from an aunt.<br />Indeed her purse now “breed(s) ten-shilling notes automatically”.</p> <p>Part of the purpose of the essay is to encourage women to make their living through writing.</p> <p>But Woolf seems to lack an awareness of her own privilege and how much harder it is for most women to fund their own artistic freedom. It is easy for her to advise against “doing work that one did not wish to do, and to do it like a slave, flattering and fawning”.</p> <p>In her book, Woolf also criticises the “awkward break” in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847), in which Bronte’s own voice interrupts the narrator’s in a passionate protest against the treatment of women.</p> <p>Here, Woolf shows little tolerance for emotion, which has historically often been dismissed as hysteria when it comes to women discussing politics.</p> <p>A Room of One’s Own ends with an injunction to work for the coming of Shakespeare’s sister, that woman forgotten by history. “So to work, even in poverty and obscurity, is worthwhile”.</p> <p>Such a woman author must have her vision, even if her work will be “stored in attics” rather than publicly exhibited.<br />The room and the money are the ideal, we come to see, but even without them the woman writer must write, must think, in anticipation of a future for her daughter-artists to come.</p> <p><em>An adaptation of </em><a href="https://belvoir.com.au/productions/a-room-of-ones-own/#CjnymqycvMw"><em>A Room of One’s Own</em></a><em> is currently at Sydney’s Belvoir Theatre. This article appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/guide-to-the-classics-a-room-of-ones-own-virginia-woolfs-feminist-call-to-arms-145398">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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Outraged fans announce "death" of J.K. Rowling

<p>J.K Rowling's new book called <em>Troubled Blood</em> has made fans furious, as it features a male serial killer who dresses as a woman while on violent killing sprees.</p> <p>Rowling has previously made controversial comments about the transgender community, including a range of tweets comparing hormone therapy to gay conversion therapy.</p> <p>Hormone therapy is where transgender people take sex hormones to align their bodies more closely with their gender identity and gay conversion therapy refers to the discredited practice of trying to change sexual orientation using psychological or spiritual means.</p> <p>Fans have had enough and have declared her "dead" by sending the hashtag #RIPJKRowling to the top of the Twitter trending charts. </p> <p>“In memory of jk rowling. she ain’t dead, but she killed her own career by proudly hating trans people &amp; no one would really miss her that much anyway,” wrote one Twitter user.</p> <p>“#RIPJKRowling she (ain’t) dead but her career is,” added another.</p> <p>“Imagine getting cancelled so hard, we have to pretend that you died,” chimed in someone else.</p> <p>J.K Rowling has published five books under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith and <em>Troubled Blood</em> is the latest.</p> <p>In <em>The Silkworm</em>, the second novel in the series, Rowling portrays a trans character as being “unstable and aggressive.”</p> <p>“The meat of the book is the investigation into a cold case: the disappearance of GP Margot Bamborough in 1974, thought to have been a victim of Dennis Creed, a transvestite serial killer,” wrote the <em>Telegraph</em> in a review of the novel.</p> <p>“One wonders what critics of Rowling’s stance on trans issues will make of a book whose moral seems to be: never trust a man in a dress.”</p> <p>Rowling defended her past comments in an essay.</p> <p>“I’m concerned about the huge explosion in young women wishing to transition and also about the increasing numbers who seem to be detransitioning (returning to their original sex), because they regret taking steps that have, in some cases, altered their bodies irrevocably, and taken away their fertility,” she wrote.</p>

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Why you should always get children picture books for Christmas

<p>The end of the year is slowly approaching. If you’re wondering what to get your child, your friends’ children, your nieces and nephews for Christmas –  I highly recommend picture books.</p> <p>Many people can remember a favourite book when they were a kid. Some of my favourites were the Berenstain Bears with Papa Bear trying, unsuccessfully, to teach his children how to ride a bike or gather honey.</p> <p>Sadly, a 2011 report from the UK showed the number of young people who say they own a book is decreasing. The report also showed a clear relationship between receiving books as presents and reading ability.</p> <p>Children who said they had never been given a book as a present were more likely to be reading below the expected level for their age.</p> <p>Most people can remember a favourite book when they were kids. The Berenstain Bears/Screenshot</p> <p>There are lots of benefits of reading aloud to young children, including developing children’s language and print awareness. These include knowing that the squiggles on the page represent words, and that the words tell a story.</p> <p>Such knowledge gives children a head start when they go on to reading at school.</p> <p><strong>1. Reading to kids increases their vocabulary</strong></p> <p>Research shows books have a greater variety of words than conversations. But it also suggests the conversations had during reading matter most.</p> <p>Adults should discuss ideas in books with children, as they occur, as opposed to just reading a book from start to finish. Talking about the pictures, or what has happened, can lead to rich conversations and enhance language development.</p> <p>The more words you know, the simpler it is to recognise them and comprehend the meaning of the text. Children who read more become better readers and more successful students.</p> <p><strong>2. Books can increase children’s maths and science skills</strong></p> <p>Picture books show children maths and science concepts through a story, which helps kids grasp them easier.</p> <p>Some books (like How Many Legs and How Big is a Million) explicitly explore concepts such as numbers. Other stories, like the Three Little Pigs, have concepts embedded in them. Children can learn about the properties of materials when adults talk about the strength of hay, sticks and bricks.</p> <p>A study in the Netherlands found kindergarten children who were read picture books, and were engaged in discussions of the maths concepts in the books, increased their maths performance, compared to a control group of children who weren’t read these books.</p> <p>Early Learning STEM Australia has created a booklist which gives parents and teachers ideas for books that contain STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) ideas. These include:</p> <ul> <li>They All Saw a Cat, which shows the perspectives of different animals</li> <li>Lucy in the City, where a cat loses her way home and an owl helps her</li> <li>Dreaming Up, which contrasts children’s constructions with notable works of architecture.</li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Books are mirrors and windows</strong></p> <p>Nearly 30 years ago, children’s literature professor, Rudine Sims Bishop, wrote how books can be windows, through which we see other worlds. These windows can become sliding doors when we use our imaginations and become part of them.</p> <p>Books can also be mirrors, when we see our own lives and experiences in them. In this way, they reaffirm our place in the world.</p> <p>Children need both types of books to understand people come from different cultures and have different ways of thinking and doing things. Books can show that children of all cultures are valued in society.</p> <p>Children who never see themselves represented in books may feel marginalised. Unfortunately, the majority of books feature white children or animals, so many children only experience books as windows.</p> <p>Examples of books that show the lives of Indigenous children include Big Rain Coming and Kick with My Left Foot (which is also a great book about left and right).</p> <p><strong>4. Books can counter stereotypes</strong></p> <p>Children learn gender stereotypes from a very young age. Research shows by the age of six, girls are already less likely than boys to think girls are “really, really smart” and they begin to avoid activities thought to be for “really, really smart” children.</p> <p>Picture books can challenge these and other stereotypes. Reading books that portray atypical behaviours such as girls playing with trucks or with girls in traditional male roles such as being doctors, scientists or engineers, can change children’s beliefs and activities.</p> <p><a href="https://www.rif.org/literacy-central/book/iggy-peck-architect">Iggy Peck, Architect</a>; <a href="https://storytimefromspace.com/rosie-revere-engineer-2/">Rosie Revere, Engineer</a>; and <a href="https://www.abramsbooks.com/product/ada-twist-scientist_9781419721373/">Ada Twist, Scientist</a> are very popular. And <a href="https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-book-news/article/79329-andrea-beaty-and-david-roberts-welcome-a-new-questioneer.html">Sofia Valdez, Future Prez</a> have been released more recently.</p> <p>The City of Monash in Melbourne has created a list of children’s picture books that promote gender equality and challenge gender stereotypes. This includes one of my favourite books, The Paperbag Princess, who saves herself from a dragon and decides not to marry the prince after he complains she is a mess.</p> <p><strong>5. Just having more books makes you more educated</strong></p> <p>A study that looked at data from 27 countries, including Australia, found children growing up in homes with many books got three years more education than children from bookless homes. This was independent of their parents’ education, occupation and class.</p> <p>Adults need to model good reading habits and their enjoyment of reading. Giving children a love of reading can be the best present we ever give.</p> <p><em>Written by Misha Ketchell</em><em>. This article first appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/5-reasons-i-always-get-children-picture-books-for-christmas-127801">The Conversation</a></em><em>. </em></p>

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Powerful books that predicted the future

<p>As we were told by countless teachers and school librarians during our childhoods, a good book can transport you to another time and place, letting you briefly inhabit another world – or a different version of the one you’re living in. And whether the books are set in the past, present or future, the authors of fiction can create their own societies, and the rules, technologies, and social and political situations that come with it. Given how much literature has been written throughout history, it makes sense that some of it would include events or inventions that were not around (or maybe even possible) when the author wrote about them. Here are nine examples of books that predicted the future.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>The Parable Series</strong></p> <p>Though she died before completing the third book in the trilogy, science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler created a dystopian world in Parable of the Sower (1993) and Parable of the Talents (1998) that featured the rise of a populist demagogue. While the books were well-received when they were published, they have struck a chord with readers more recently, given some stark similarities between the society Butler created and our reality today, including global warming, extremely influential corporations, and social inequality. But the strangest parallel came in Parable of the Talents, where she writes about a conservative evangelist who runs for president using the slogan “Make America Great Again”.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>1984</strong></p> <p>George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 predicted so many aspects of the future that referring to it has become shorthand for any situations where technology threatens to control aspects of society. In fact, the term ‘Big Brother’, which refers to abuse of government power – specifically involving surveillance – originated in the book. Though it was published in 1949, Orwell described multiple technological advancements that now exist in some form. An article in Insider published in June 2019 discusses two of his sci-fi creations that are eerily similar to technology that exists today. The first example is the ‘telescreen’, which is essentially a large television used to monitor people’s private lives and is able to identify a person based on their facial expressions and heart rate: ie facial recognition software. The second example is the ‘Versificator’: a machine that can automatically produce music and literature – much like some of the artificial intelligence technology used today.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>The Machine Stops</strong></p> <p>In his 1909 book The Machine Stops, E.M. Forster imagined a future in which people live and work exclusively in their own rooms, communicating with each other entirely through electronic means, says professor of humanities and legal studies, Kenneth Schneyer. The people in the book create and sustain their ‘friendships’, ‘groups’ or ‘teams’ entirely through electronic communications, and eventually become positively phobic about leaving their rooms or meeting other people in the flesh.</p> <p>And while the telephone did exist at this point, radio was virtually unknown and television not yet invented, Schneyer explains. “Until the internet and social media, I don’t think anyone thought of Forster’s novella as prophetic,” he says. “But by the time I first taught it to students five years ago, I was able to say with a straight face, ‘We are all living the nightmare that Forster is dreaming in Hell.’ In the world of commerce-via-Zoom, it’s even more true.”</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>When the Sleeper Wakes</strong></p> <p>Science-fiction writer H.G. Wells had a knack for predicting the future of warfare – including the atom bomb – in his 1914 novel The World Set Free, according to Professor Andrew Peck, an interdisciplinary researcher and educator.</p> <p>“Wells’ habit for seeing the future of armed conflict extends to his visions of the use and importance of airpower in warfare in his 1899 story When the Sleeper Wakes,” says Peck. “[This was] a feat of foresight some 12 years before the first military aerial reconnaissance mission (1911, Italians over Turkey) and four years before the Wright brothers first got off the ground with a manned, heavier-than-air, plane.”</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Fahrenheit 451</strong></p> <p>When Ray Bradbury’s book Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1953, television was already a form of entertainment. At that time, most of the programming consisted of scripted comedies and mysteries, game shows, news programmes and variety shows. But the book featured what sounds a lot like modern reality TV. “Bradbury, who was more interested in the way humans would react to technology than technology itself, imagined a world in which wall-sized televisions involved viewers directly in the action of the programs, anticipating not only our widescreen media but also reality TV,” Schneyer explains. “More than this, he foresaw how people would become increasingly devoted to their television programmes even in preference to their home lives and personal relationships. Although this book did not imagine the election of a reality TV star as president, I doubt that Montag (its protagonist) would be surprised.”</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>The Wreck of the Titan</strong></p> <p>Even though The Wreck of the Titan is one of the most well-known examples of books that predicted the future, it’s still hard to believe. Written by Morgan Robertson and originally published under the title Futility in 1898, the novella tells the tale of a massive passenger ship named the Titan that hit an iceberg and sank in the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean, killing thousands of people.</p> <p>“Like the Titanic, the Titan was also described in Robertson’s book as ‘the largest ship of its time,” says Lewis Keegan, creator of the online course resource website SkillScouter. The Titan was also glorified and called ‘unsinkable’ before it sank, he says – just like the Titanic.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>A Song for a New Day</strong></p> <p>A more recent, and tragically timely example, is Sarah Pinsker’s novel A Song for a New Day. Published on September 10, 2019 – and written two or three years earlier – the book takes place in a society dealing with a combination of domestic terrorism and a lethal pandemic. “That causes the government to outlaw gatherings beyond a certain size, and to radically alter the economy, such that nearly everyone works full-time from home, wearing protective gear at all times when away from home,” Schneyer explains. “One of the two protagonists is a singer/songwriter whose livelihood depends on live gatherings of audiences, and who is now unable to do what she was born to do. Another protagonist is a young woman – a child during the pandemic – who is terrified of any other person or any public space.” This one hits a little too close to home right now.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>The Foundation trilogy</strong></p> <p>First published in the early 1950s, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy predicted a science called ‘psychohistory’, in which the future could be predicted by accurately measuring current developments and trends in human behaviour and life, says professor of communication and media studies, and non-fiction and science-fiction author Paul Levinson.</p> <p>“Although statistics as a way of gauging the public existed back then, they were very rudimentary in comparison to today’s surveys and statistics, which are used every day to measure and predict everything from consumer behaviour and voting preferences to the impact of COVID-19,” he explains. “In other words, the psychohistory in Asimov’s science fiction has become a crucial way of life in our world.” The Foundation series is being brought to the small screen by Apple TV as a major television series for streaming in 2021.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>The Sultana’s Dream</strong></p> <p>In her 1905 book The Sultana’s Dream, Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain – a Muslim feminist social reformer from Bengal – described a place called ‘Ladyland’ in which men were locked away so women could actually get stuff done without having to deal with annoying distractions like violence and war. Though that part hasn’t happened (yet), Hussain does predict a variety of technological developments, including solar power and video calls. With so much additional time in their schedules, thanks to the lack of men, the women of Ladyland have the opportunity to invent other useful things, like flying cars, weather control, and labour-less farms.</p> <p><em>Written by </em><strong><em>Elizabeth Yuko</em></strong><em>. This article first appeared on </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/book-club/powerful-books-that-predicted-the-future"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.com.au/subscribe"><em>here’s our best subscription offer</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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"Freaking out": Karl Stefanovic nervous over Lisa Wilkinson memoir

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Respected Australian journalist Lisa Wilkinson enjoyed a lengthy career alongside Karl Stefanovic on the <em>Today</em> show as the pair worked together for 10 years.</p> <p>Things quickly broke down in 2017 after negotiations over pay failed and she quit Channel Nine and the <em>Today</em> show as a result.</p> <p>Wilkinson is excited to share her side in an explosive tell-all book that will reveal what the public are dying to know about her fall out with Channel Nine.</p> <p>Stefanovic is reportedly "freaking out" over what her new book could reveal about his personal life.</p> <p>"Karl is freaking out – the timing couldn't be worse," reveals the insider to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nowtolove.com.au/celebrity/celeb-news/lisa-wilkinson-karl-stefanovic-book-65012" target="_blank" class="_e75a791d-denali-editor-page-rtflink"><em>Woman's Day</em></a>.</p> <p>"He's in the middle of the toughest contract negotiations of his career, he's feeling very fragile about whether he has a future and he's terrified Lisa's scandalous reveal will derail it all," the insider explains, who says the father-of-four is anticipating he'll be "thrown under the bus".</p> <p>Wilkinson is reportedly excited to blow the cover of the Channel Nine "boys' club" as she has been sitting on a "gold mine worth of dirt" for years.</p> <p>Stefanovic is also worried about his former co-host revealing details about his personal life, including his marriage breakdown with ex-wife Cassandra Thorburn.</p> <p>"He is, with good reason, a tad worried that Lisa knows a lot of what went down in his personal life. What was supposed to go on tour and stay there, now may not – the word is Lisa is about to air that dirty laundry," the insider explained.</p> <p>"There's the back story around the sudden breakdown of Karl's marriage... Lisa would've been privy to the details of Karl's marriage split with Cassandra, who, by the way, Lisa has a great deal of respect for."</p> <p><em>The Project </em>fans are also eager to see what the book says about her rumoured feud with beloved Carrie Bickmore.</p> <p>"It's no secret Lisa and Carrie aren't exactly the best of mates," explains the insider.</p> <p>"The word is Lisa is keeping a number of key chapters light in content, in case she is punted from Ten or if Carrie or one or more of her current team are pushed out," the insider added.</p> </div> </div> </div>

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The $22 Kmart and BigW item behind Adele’s stunning new look

<p>UK singing superstar Adele hasn’t just transformed her body over recent weeks and months – she’s completely changed her entire way of thinking.</p> <p>The revelation came after she showed off her amazing 45kg weight loss on Instagram to her millions of followers.</p> <p>But at just 32 years of age, Adele has now gone on to share the fact that her mind has been changed as much as her body – and she credits that transformation to just one book.</p> <p>Called <em>Untamed, Stop Pleasing, Start Living</em> by Glennon Doyle, the self-help book that Adele has been relying on can be purchased at Kmart or BigW stores for a mere $22.</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/CD4-gPAgkDl/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CD4-gPAgkDl/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">If you’re ready - this book will shake your brain and make your soul scream. I am so ready for myself after reading this book! It’s as if I just flew into my body for the very first time. Whew! Anyone who has any kind of capacity to truly let go and give into yourself with any kind of desire to hold on for dear life - Do it. Read it. Live it. Practice it. We are a lot! But we are meant to be a lot! .. “A good life is a hard life!” Read this book and have a highlighter on hand to make notes because you’ll want to refer back to it trust me! I never knew that I am solely responsible for my own joy, happiness and freedom!! Who knew our own liberation liberates those around us? Cause I didn’t!! I thought we were meant to be stressed and disheveled, confused and selfless like a Disney character! ProBloodyFound!! You’re an absolute don Glennon ♥️</a></p> <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 post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/adele/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Adele</a> (@adele) on Aug 14, 2020 at 5:43pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><br />"If you're ready – this book will shake your brain and make your soul scream," Adele shared with her Instagram followers.</p> <p>"I never knew that I am solely responsible for my own joy, happiness and freedom!!</p> <p>"Who knew our own liberation liberates those around us? Cause I didn't!! I thought we were meant to be stressed and dishevelled, confused and selfless like a Disney character!"</p> <p>According to book reviews, <em>Untamed, Stop Pleasing, Start Living</em> by Glennon Doyle is designed to help women question who they were before "the world told you who to be", helping guide readers to dare to say "no" when they are expected to say "yes".</p> <p>Images: Adele / Instagram</p>

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5 must-read novels on the environment and climate crisis

<p>Since the start of <a href="https://theconversation.com/volunteering-mutual-aid-and-lockdown-has-shifted-our-sense-of-happiness-141352">lockdown</a>, more of us have taken to our bicycles, grown our own vegetables and baked our own bread. So it’s not surprising it has been suggested we should use this experience to rethink our approach to the climate crisis.</p> <p>Reading some environmental literature – sometimes called “eco-literature” – can also give us the opportunity to think about the world around us in different ways.</p> <p>Eco-literature, has a long literary tradition that dates back to the writings of 19th-century <a href="https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199827251/obo-9780199827251-0206.xml">English romantic poets and US authors</a>. And the growing awareness of climate change has accelerated the development of environmental writings.</p> <p><a href="https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Animals-People/Indra-Sinha/9781416578796"><em><strong>Animal’s People</strong> </em></a></p> <p><strong>by Indra Sinha</strong></p> <p>Indra Sinha’s <em>Animal’s People</em>, looks at the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/dec/08/bhopals-tragedy-has-not-stopped-the-urban-disaster-still-claiming-lives-35-years-on">Bhopal gas explosion</a> in India – one of the most horrific environmental disasters of the 20th-century. A poisonous gas leak from a US-owned pesticide plant killed several thousand people and injured more than half a million.</p> <p>The main character in the novel, Animal, is a 19-year-old orphaned boy who survives the explosion with a deformed body. This means he must “crawl like a dog on all fours”. Animal does not hate his body, but embraces his animistic identity – offering an unconventional <a href="https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195394429.001.0001/acprof-9780195394429-chapter-11">non-human perspective</a>.</p> <p>With this wounded “human-animal” figure, Sinha puts forward his critique of India’s postcolonial conditions and demonstrates how Western capitalist domination continues to damage people and the environment in contemporary postcolonial society.</p> <p><a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/330739/my-year-of-meats-by-ruth-ozeki/9780140280463/readers-guide/"><em><strong>My Year of Meats</strong></em></a></p> <p><strong>by Ruth Ozeki</strong></p> <p>Ruth Ozeki’s novel intermingles themes such as motherhood, environmental justice and <a href="http://dspace.unive.it/handle/10579/15557">ecological practice</a> to explore the appalling use of growth hormones in the US meat industry from a feminist ecocritical perspective.</p> <p>The novel employs <a href="https://academic.oup.com/isle/article/24/3/457/4036100">a “documentary” narrative mode</a> and begins with a TV cooking show – sponsored by a meat company. While filming the show, Jane Takagi-Little, the director, encounters a vegetarian lesbian couple who reveal the ugly truth about the use of growth hormones within the livestock industry. The encounter motivates Jane to undertake a documentary project to uncover how growth hormones poison women’s bodies.</p> <p> </p> <p>Through a deliberate choice to make all her main characters female, Ozeki draws her readers’ attention to nonconforming, atypical female figures who rebel against social or cultural norms inherent in patriarchal capitalist society.</p> <p><a href="https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/103/1031506/disgrace/9780099540984.html"><em><strong>Disgrace</strong> </em></a></p> <p><strong>by J.M. Coetzee</strong></p> <p>In <em>Disgrace</em>, J.M. Coetzee, a celebrated Noble Prize laureate, who is also <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/nobel-laureate-jm-coetzee-animal-death-camps/">known for his outspoken defence of animal rights</a>, interweaves a brutal dog-killing scene with the gang-rape of a white South African woman by three black men.</p> <p>Praised as one of the South African postcolonial canons, the novel explores complex issues of white supremacy and anticolonial resistance as well as racial and gender violence. It ties these issues with humans’ domination and exploitation of the animals and further challenges our ethical position.</p> <p>The combination of these two acts – the killing of dogs and the rape of a woman – can be read as Coetzee’s ecocritique of the colonial violence against nonhuman beings and the natural environment.</p> <p><a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/221242/the-man-with-the-compound-eyes-by-wu-ming-yi/"><em><strong>The Man with the Compound Eyes</strong> </em></a></p> <p><strong>by Wu Ming-yi</strong></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/climate-change-novels-allow-us-to-imagine-possible-futures-read-these-crucial-seven-124216">Climate fiction</a> or the so-called “<a href="https://theconversation.com/cli-fi-novels-humanise-the-science-of-climate-change-and-leading-authors-are-getting-in-on-the-act-51270">cli-fi</a>” takes on genuine scientific discovery or phenomenon and combines this with a <a href="https://theconversation.com/cli-fi-literary-genre-rises-to-prominence-in-the-shadow-of-climate-change-25686">dystopian or over the top twist</a>. This approach underlines the agency of non-human beings, environments or even phenomena – such as trees, the ocean, or a tsunami.</p> <p>Wu Ming-yi’s novel is composed of four different narratives: a Taiwanese university professor, a boy from the mythical Wayo Wayo island and two other city-dwelling indigenous characters. Their stories are viewed in fragments from the multiple perspectives of the “compound eyes”. At the backdrop is a tsunami which causes <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/">the Great Pacific garbage patch</a> to crash on to the eastern coast of Taiwan and the fictionalised Pacific island of Wayo Wayo that brings together all their stories.</p> <p>Wu blends this unrealistic event with the real-life trash vortex to draw our attention to the severe environmental problems of waste dumping and our unsustainable lifestyles.</p> <p><a href="https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/111/1115230/the-overstory/9781784708245.html"><em><strong>The Overstory</strong> </em></a></p> <p><strong>by Richard Powers</strong></p> <p><em>The Overstory</em> is praised by critics for its ambition to bring awareness to the life of trees and its advocacy to an <a href="https://www.unive.it/pag/fileadmin/user_upload/dipartimenti/DSLCC/documenti/DEP/numeri/n41-42/13_Masiero.pdf">ecocentric way of life</a>. Powers’ novel sets out with nine distinctive characters - which represent the “roots” of trees. Gradually their stories and lives intertwine to form the “trunk”, the “crown” and the “seeds”.</p> <p>One of the characters, Dr Patricia Westerford, publishes a paper showing trees are social beings because they can communicate and warn each other when a foreign intrusion occurs. Her idea, though presented as controversial in the novel, is actually <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/12/peter-wohlleben-man-who-believes-trees-talk-to-each-other">well supported by today’s scientific studies</a>.</p> <p>Despite her groundbreaking work, Dr Westerford ends up taking her own life by drinking poisonous tree extracts at a conference - to make it clear humans can only save trees and the planet by ceasing to exist.</p> <p>These are just a few books with a specific focus on environmental issues – perfect for your <a href="https://theconversation.com/three-things-historical-literature-can-teach-us-about-the-climate-crisis-127762">current reading list</a>. To everyone’s surprise, this global lockdown has given us some eco-benefits, such as a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/19/lockdowns-trigger-dramatic-fall-global-carbon-emissions">sudden dip in carbon emissions</a> and the huge decline in our reliance on <a href="https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/04/renewable-power-surges-pandemic-scrambles-global-energy-outlook">traditional fossil fuel energy</a>. Maybe then if we can learn from this experience we can move towards a greener future.<!-- 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/139437/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ti-han-chang-602361">Ti-han Chang</a>, Lecturer in Asia-Pacific Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-central-lancashire-1272">University of Central Lancashire</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/five-must-read-novels-on-the-environment-and-climate-crisis-139437">original article</a>.</em></p>

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5 minutes with author Darry Fraser

<p>In <em>5 minutes with author</em>, <em>Over60</em> asks book writers about their literary habits and preferences. Next in this series is Darry Fraser, a historical drama novelist based on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Her first book with publisher HarperCollins, <em>Daughter of the Murray</em>, was published in 2016 and followed by other Australian historical titles such as <em>Where The Murray River Runs</em>, <em>The Widow of Ballarat </em>and <em>The Good Woman of Renmark</em>. Her new novel, <em>Elsa Goody, Bushranger </em>is out now.</p> <p><em>Over60</em> talked with Fraser about ignoring naysayers, the Paddle Steamer Gem, and how she coped with the recent events on her home island and around the world.</p> <p><strong><em>Over60</em></strong><strong>: What is your best writing tip? On the other hand, what is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?</strong></p> <p>Darry Fraser: Never give up writing – but if it’s stories you want to write, <em>learn</em> how to do it. It’s a craft that takes learning, very few can write seamlessly. Language changes, grammar and punctuation changes – it’s all part of learning your craft.</p> <p>The worst is probably not advice as much as, “Who do you think you are, you reckon you can write?” So I kept writing anyway, kept learning. Took some years to work out that what I wanted to do was okay to do!</p> <p><strong>What was the last book that made you laugh?</strong></p> <p>There are a few books I’m sure – off the top of my head I can’t say, but I love Amy Andrew’s style. Her characters make me laugh.</p> <p><strong>What first attracted you to Australian historical fiction?</strong></p> <p>Believe it or not, it was US westerns way back in the day on the telly that sparked my interest in history. Then as I got to my teens, I figured that we’d have had our own heroes and pioneering stories. When I lived in Swan Hill the Paddle Steamer Gem offered a portal into another time, and I’ve never looked back. Er, forward.</p> <p><strong>What does your writing routine look like?</strong></p> <p>Right now with deadlines looming for story submissions and edits, I’m at the desk at 5am, walk the dog (or the other way around) from 7am, back for brekky and chores, then at the desk again by 9am-ish. It’s not all solid words, it’s edits and research but the time zips away and by 4.30pm, I’m winding up, eyes are blurring – time to join the real world.</p> <p><strong>Do you deal with writer’s block?</strong> <strong>If so, how do you overcome it?</strong></p> <p>I never thought I had it, or ever experienced it, but there was a time between books when “OMG – no inspiration”. I didn’t know why nothing was coming in… it just wasn’t. I had no idea what to do with myself. I write two big books a year and to lose a month to this ‘nothing’ in my head was very angsty – and that makes it worse. That was one type of ‘block’.</p> <p>I sat down and trawled through the Trove digitised newspapers focusing on the latter part of the 19<sup>th</sup> century and there was the opening chapter of my December 2020 book <em>The Last Trueheart</em>.</p> <p>The other ‘block’ was being emotionally wrecked by the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-18/kangaroo-island-bushfires-before-and-after-destruction/11970788?nw=0">terrible bushfires that struck my island home</a> over the summer season this year. The impact on everything and everyone – of course especially those who lost it all – meant creativity evaporated.</p> <p>I find refuge in writing, and at that time all the news was awful – and every state was burning all at once – so I retreated to my writing room, found escape was there, and thankfully I could still put down words. It worked the same when we were first faced with the threat of COVID-19.</p> <p><strong>Print, e-book or audiobook?</strong></p> <p>I use each and love them equally. I’m not travelling long journeys by car much at the moment, which is where I use audiobooks, so I tend to read print or e-book at home.</p> <p><strong>Which author, deceased or living, would you most like to have dinner with</strong>?</p> <p>Harlan Coben would be fun – his <em>Myron Bolitar</em> series made me laugh out loud.</p>

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5 minutes with author Kerry McGinnis

<p>In <em>5 minutes with author</em>, <em>Over60</em> asks book writers about their literary habits and preferences. Next in this series is Kerry McGinnis, a novelist and memoir writer based in Bundaberg, Queensland. She has travelled across outback Northern Territory and Queensland and worked as a shepherd, droving hand, gardener, stock-camp and station cook. She is the author of memoirs <em>Pieces of Blue</em> and <em>Heart Country</em> and the novels <em>The Waddi Tree,</em> <em>Wildhorse Creek</em>, <em>Mallee Sky</em>, <em>Out of Alice</em> and more. Her latest title, <em>Croc Country </em>is out now.</p> <p><em>Over60</em> talked with McGinnis about inspiration, <em>The Hitchhiker’s Guide</em> <em>to the Galaxy</em>, and a life beyond the bitumen.</p> <p><strong><em>Over60</em></strong><strong>: What’s your best writing tip? Alternatively, what is the worst writing advice you’ve ever heard?</strong></p> <p>Kerry McGinnis: I think the best writing tip I have is: Write what you know. Everybody is an expert on something — the parent of an autistic child knows that condition, just as a hairdresser knows the salon or the nurse the ward. I know the bush and station life. It is not only easier to have a full depth knowledge of your subject, but the tales you spin from them have the authenticity that makes them believable to your readers.</p> <p>Positively the worst tip? You must wait for inspiration to strike. Now that sounds to me like the teenager saying, “I’ll do the dishes when I feel like it.” Of course they’ll never get done. Because honestly, who feels like washing dishes? Writing is like any other work, productivity is the key and that isn’t achieved by waiting for inspiration. Decide on your subject/theme/whatever and get on with it. Books don’t write themselves.</p> <p><strong>What was the last book that made you laugh?</strong></p> <p>Probably Douglas Adams’ <em>The Hitchhiker’s Guide</em> <em>to the Galaxy</em>. Poor Arthur Dent’s helplessness in the face of the indifferent and chaotic Universe reminds me irresistibly of the rages of John Cleese doing his block in <em>Fawlty Towers</em>.</p> <p><strong>What does your writing routine look like?</strong></p> <p>I write every day that I’m home save Sundays. This means four to five hours work or as long as it takes to produce three pages that satisfy me. I’m not fast, but once started I do daily rewrites before beginning on the next three pages. Once I have the first draft done I may do all-day stints at the computer, but by the last draft I limit myself to about 30 pages a day so that I can catch mistakes. The more familiar you are with the work, the easier it is to miss them.</p> <p><strong>Character or plot, which is more important to you?</strong></p> <p>Character every time. The plot simply gives your character something to do. It is rather daunting to think of producing 100,000 words. You have to have something for your characters to do that will display their attributes to the reader and a place to do it in, so my background or setting is to a large degree also a character in the novel.</p> <p><strong>How has your time in the bush influenced your writing?</strong></p> <p>In every sense. It is my subject; it forms the background and basis of my characters as well as the plots they become immersed in. This of course depends on what is possible given the country/isolation/circumstances and, also important, weather or season. City people accustomed to all-weather lives sometimes fail to grasp how it affects everybody who lives beyond the bitumen. Dirt roads and unbridged rivers can throw quite a spanner into the day’s plans, as can bushfire, disasters, dust and storms. Navigating them adds to the uncertainty of life for characters between the covers of my books.</p> <p><strong>Do you deal with writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?</strong></p> <p>Maybe I’m lucky but I’ve never had to. It’s like washing those dishes. Just get in and start. Maybe the day’s work won’t be worth keeping but meantime you are writing and sooner or later, if you keep going, the words will flow again and begin to please.</p> <p><strong>Is there a cliché you can’t help but love?</strong></p> <p>I love Reginald Hill’s bold use of “It was a dark and stormy night”. Writing schools actually warn their pupils against this cliché, but he used it anyway and it fitted beautifully. What’s more is while he was using it, his character acknowledged its riskiness!</p> <p><strong>What do you do when you’re not writing or reading?</strong></p> <p>I like to garden because I love flowers, though Bundaberg is not an ideal spot for roses — rust and black-spot and every other pest thrives in this humid climate. But hibiscus do well here, and the tougher seasonal blooms. I also play the harp and greatly enjoy the fortnightly get-togethers with the Harp group I belong to. And I go to the gym and walk most days through the wetlands only a kilometre from where I live. Lots of water birds, scrub turkeys and terrapins.</p>

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Prince William and Prince Harry’s “devastating breakdown” revealed in new book

<p>The rift between Prince William and Prince Harry is the most “profound” among the recent generation of the royal family, royal author Robert Lacey said.</p> <p>The biographer, who serves as a historical consultant for the Netflix series <em>The Crown</em>, is set to release the book <em>Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – the Friendships and Feuds </em>in October.</p> <p>“Raised to be the closest of brothers, the last 18 months has seen a devastating breakdown of their once unbreakable bond,” the book’s synopsis reads.</p> <p>In the book, Lacey explains “what happened when two sons were raised for vastly different futures and showing how the seeds of damage were sown as their parents’ marriage unravelled”.</p> <p>Lacey said he had been “astonished” by the information he had uncovered for the book.</p> <p>“I have been astonished and sometimes moved to tears by the fresh details and insights I have discovered in researching this story of family conflict,” he said in a press release.</p> <p>“These two brothers — once inseparable and now separated by much more than mere distance — have been acting out the contradictions that go back into their childhoods and even before that: into their parents’ ill-fated marriage.</p> <p>“We have seen conflicts between heir and spare in every recent generation of the royal family — but nothing so profound as this.”</p> <p>In the 2019 documentary <em>Harry &amp; Meghan: An African Journey</em>, the Duke of Sussex shared a glimpse into his relationship with his older brother.</p> <p>“Part of this role and part of this job, this family, being under the pressure that it’s under, inevitably stuff happens,” he said. “But look, we’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers. We’re certainly on different paths at the moment but I’ll always be there for him and I know he’ll always be there for me.”</p> <p>Another book on royals, <em>Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family</em>, will be released in August. The biography, authored by journalists Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durnad, promises to go “beyond the headlines to reveal unknown details of Harry and Meghan’s life together, dispelling the many rumours and misconceptions that plague the couple on both sides of the pond”.</p>

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5 trendy words that are actually ancient

<p><span>Hip dudes have been friending each other for centuries. Legit!</span></p> <p><strong>1. Legit</strong></p> <p>Legit as a shortening of legitimate has been around since the 1890s. It started as theatre slang for things associated with legitimate drama (versus vaudeville or burlesque). From the 1920s on, it referred to authenticity. If you were ‘legit,’ you were being honest.</p> <p><strong>2. Friend (as a verb)</strong></p> <div class="slide-image">When did friend become a verb? The answer is sometime in the 1400s. In the Oxford English Dictionary, the verb friend means ‘to make friends or to help someone out.’  One example of its usage from 1698: ‘Reports came that the King would friend Lauderdale.’</div> <p><strong>3. Unfriend</strong></p> <p>If you could friend someone, it was only natural, according to the productive rules of English word formation, that you could unfriend her too. The word appears in Thomas Fuller’s 1659 book <em>The Appeal of Injured Innocence</em>, ‘I Hope, Sir, that we are not mutually Un-friended by this Difference which hath happened betwixt us.’</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/5-trendy-words-that-are-actually-ancient"><strong>4. Hipster</strong></div> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div id="page4" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Hipster shows up in a 1941 dictionary of hash-house lingo, meaning ‘a know-it-all.’ The word hip appeared in the 1900s and referred to being up on the latest trends.</p> <p><strong>5. Dude</strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page5" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide listicle-slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>In the 1880s, dude had a negative, mocking ring to it. A dude was a dandy, someone very particular about clothes, looks, and mannerisms, who affected a sort of exaggerated high-class British persona. As one Brit noted in an 1886 issue of Longman’s Magazine, “Our novels establish a false ideal in the American imagination, and the result is that mysterious being ‘The Dude.’”. By the turn of the century, it had come to mean any guy, usually a pretty cool one.</p> <p><em>Source:<span> </span><a href="https://www.rd.com/funny-stuff/funny-trendy-words-ancient/">RD.com</a></em></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Brandon Spektor</span>. This article first appeared in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/5-trendy-words-that-are-actually-ancient" target="_blank">Reader’s Digest</a>. </em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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JK Rowling reveals history of domestic abuse and sexual assault

<p><span>JK Rowling has opened up about her experience with domestic abuse and sexual assault for the first time, in a lengthy and highly personal essay written in response to criticism of her public comments on transgender issues.</span></p> <p><span>In a 3,600-word statement published on her website on Wednesday, Rowling went into detail about how she became embroiled in an increasingly bitter and polarised debate around the concept of gender identity.</span><br /><span>The author said she was a “domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor”, citing this alongside her belief in freedom of speech and experience as a teacher as reasons behind her position.</span></p> <p><span>“I’m mentioning these things now not in an attempt to garner sympathy, but out of solidarity with the huge numbers of women who have histories like mine, who’ve been slurred as bigots for having concerns around single-sex spaces,” she wrote.</span></p> <p><span>The note came after the author took to Twitter to share a series of messages over the weekend about people who identify as trans.</span></p> <p><span>One tweet read: “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.”</span></p> <p><span>Since then, prominent figures have come out against Rowling, including Daniel Radcliffe and Eddie Redmayne, who both worked in the hugely successful Harry Potter franchise.</span></p> <p><span>Rowling said she was motivated to share her thoughts after reading about proposed “gender confirmation certificates” in Scotland, which allows trans people to change their sex on their birth certificates based on how they identify and not medical and psychiatric reports.</span></p> <p><span>She accused those who disagreed of “groupthink” and “relentless attacks”, saying that even though she believes trans people deserve protection due to the high rates of domestic and sexual violence they face, she did not agree that trans women who have not undergone hormone therapy or surgical transition to have access to single-sex spaces.</span></p> <p><span>“When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth,” she wrote.</span></p> <p><span>She also confirmed that she was in her 20s when she dealt with physical abuse for the first time. “If you could come inside my head and understand what I feel when I read about a trans woman dying at the hands of a violent man, you’d find solidarity and kinship,” she wrote.</span></p> <p><span>Citing an unnamed poll, Rowling claimed that those who did not support preserving single-sex spaces were “only those privileged or lucky enough never to have come up against male violence or sexual assault, and who’ve never troubled to educate themselves on how prevalent it is”.</span></p> <p><span>She said she had been contacted by “huge numbers” of women who were afraid to speak publicly about trans reforms, and decried institutions and organisations she once admired for “cowering before the tactics of the playground”. She said she believed misogyny and sexism were reasons behind the 4,400% increase in the number of girls being referred for transitioning treatment in the past decade.</span></p> <p><span>“I’ve read all the arguments about femaleness not residing in the sexed body, and the assertions that biological women don’t have common experiences, and I find them, too, deeply misogynistic and regressive. </span></p> <p><span>It’s also clear that one of the objectives of denying the importance of sex is to erode what some seem to see as the cruelly segregationist idea of women having their own biological realities or – just as threatening – unifying realities that make them a cohesive political class … It isn’t enough for women to be trans allies. Women must accept and admit that there is no material difference between trans women and themselves,” she wrote.</span></p> <p><span>The essay sparked a heated debate on Twitter, with Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, tweeting: “Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are.”</span></p> <p><span>In a second tweet, she said: “I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.”</span></p>

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5 minutes with author Imbi Neeme

<p>In <em>5 minutes with author</em>, <em>Over60</em> asks book writers about their literary habits and preferences. Next in this series is Imbi Neeme, a novelist, blogger and short story writer based in Melbourne. Her blog <em>Not Drowning, Mothering </em>won the 2010 Bloggies award for best Australian/New Zealand Weblog. After winning prizes for her short fiction works, she was awarded the 2019 Penguin Literary Prize for her manuscript <em>The Spill</em>, which was this month published as her debut novel.</p> <p><em>Over60</em> talked with Neeme about characters, Shakespeare and tips to prepare manuscripts for publication.</p> <p><strong><em>Over60</em></strong><strong>: What was the last book that made you laugh?</strong></p> <p>Imbi Neeme: <em>Less </em>by Andrew Sean Greer. I loved this book’s gentle humour and hapless protagonist. Plus, it really packs an emotional punch at the end. I cried.  </p> <p><strong>Character or plot – which one is more important to you?</strong></p> <p>Gah! This is like choosing a favourite child (which my children regularly ask me to do). Ultimately, I need both character and plot to keep my interest. If there is a very interesting person where nothing much happens to them, that’s a wasted opportunity to me; same applies to an interesting situation with thinly drawn characters. But, if I absolutely had to choose, I’d choose character. People are endlessly fascinating!  </p> <p><strong>What does your writing routine look like?</strong></p> <p>I have no routine to speak of. It’s really a “grab whatever time I can” situation. I blogged during the years that my children were very young and learned to write in short, sharp bursts. There’s no gentle, easing into it for me. I just open the laptop and go.</p> <p>When writing the first draft of a manuscript, my aim is always to write 250 words a day, although I might increase it to 500 words when I’m in full flow. I set my expectations of myself low so I get a sense of satisfaction from achieving my target and can close my laptop without resenting everyone and everything else in my life.</p> <p><strong>Do you deal with writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?</strong></p> <p>I certainly have periods where I’m writing less, either because life is too busy or I’m somehow not in the mood to write. However, I’m always thinking about writing – either my current manuscript or an idea for a new short story or a blog post. As long as I’m thinking about writing, I don’t feel like I’m truly blocked. </p> <p><strong>What trope grinds your gears? Alternatively, is there a cliché that you can’t help but love?</strong></p> <p>I don’t like it when authors over-describe their characters – as a reader, I like to be left a certain amount of space to imagine them myself. So if a protagonist ever looks in a mirror and describes themselves or what they’re wearing, my eyeballs start rolling so much I can’t read any further.</p> <p>Don’t tell anyone, but I love a proposal scene, no matter how corny. Seriously, I cry any time anyone proposes to anyone.</p> <p><strong>Which author, deceased or living, would you most like to have dinner with?</strong></p> <p>If I had to choose just one, I’d choose Shakespeare. That way, I’d know once and for all who he was and if the name was just a pseudonym for a collective of writers (I’d have extra food on hand, in case it was a large cohort). Reportedly, Shakespeare wrote <em>King Lear </em>under lockdown conditions. I could ask if this was true and, if it is, make him (or them) apologise at once to a whole generation of writers who are currently feeling deeply inadequate.</p> <p><strong>Do you have any tips for writers looking to publish their manuscript?</strong></p> <p>I think it’s important to give all feedback you receive along the road to publication proper consideration, even the feedback that makes you want to shout and stamp your feet. I don’t mean that you have to do everything everyone tells you – ultimately, you remain the boss of your manuscript. But when someone suggests something that you don’t agree with, it’s good to at least ask yourself <em>why</em> it’s eliciting that kind of response and see if that’s something worth addressing.</p>

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