Is book social cataloguing website Goodreads still relevant?

Canadian author Tajja Isen, writing for The Walrus: Gradually, things started to go off the rails. My to-read list ballooned alarmingly, not from titles I felt drawn to out of genuine desire but ones the algorithm pushed on me. The thrill of discovery, too, felt compromised: ever … | Continue reading | 2 months ago

2023 Ned Kelly Australian crime writing award winners

Book cover of Exiles, written by Jane Harper. Exiles by Melbourne based Australian author Jane Harper, published by Pan Macmillan Australia, has been named winner in the best crime fiction category of the 2023 Ned Kelly Awards for Australian crime writing. Written in 2022, Exiles … | Continue reading | 2 months ago

Libraries, co-working spaces lending out sewing machines, iPads, and more

Australian libraries are no longer quiet places to study or borrow books, writes Bec Zhuang for The Guardian. Today they are community hubs offering working spaces, meeting rooms, film screenings, art shows, and study courses, among other things. And in some places, libraries loa … | Continue reading | 2 months ago

The 100 year WordPress plan preserves your website for posterity

WordPress, creator of the CMS I publish disassociated with, has unveiled a one hundred yearlong website hosting and domain name registration package. If you have a lazy US$38,000, then there’s nothing stopping you from signing up. But I like the idea. It makes sense. When … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

How a nuclear war will start according to Kurzgesagt

It’s alarming how close the world has come to nuclear conflict in the past, and on several occasions leaders with nuclear arsenals at their disposal have had their finger poised on the proverbial button. In just about every instance though, the threat of a nuclear exchange has be … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Entries for 2024 Stella Prize for Australian literature now open

It seems like only last week the winner of the 2023 Stella Prize — Sarah Holland-Batt with her poetry collection The Jaquar — was announced, when in fact that happened four months ago. The year is marching on. Entries are now open for the 2024 prize, but only for about the next m … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

From slush pile to bookshop shelf: the secrets of successful unsolicited manuscripts

We all know the drill. We send — unsolicited — the novel manuscript we’ve spent years toiling over, to a couple of publishing houses who accept them. From there they go into a kind of purgatory called a slush pile. How long manuscripts might spend in this limbo is unknown, but pr … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Nina Wan, Tracey Lien, on Labours of Love podcast with Sarah L’Estrange

Newly published Australian authors Nina Wan and Tracey Lien, discuss their debut novels, The Albatross and All That’s Left Unsaid, respectively, with Sarah L’Estrange of The Bookshow, in a podcast, recorded during the 2023 Melbourne Writers Festival. The hour long conversation co … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

The 2023 Readings Young Adult Prize shortlist

The 2023 Readings Young Adult Prize shortlist was announced earlier today. Six titles are in contention for this year’s award: Dancing Barefoot, by Alice Boyle If You Could See the Sun, by Ann Liang Completely Normal (and Other Lies), by Biffy James Spice Road, by Maiya Ibrahim T … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Matildas social media followings skyrocket during World Cup

Many members of the Australian women’s football team saw their social media followings jump exponentially as a result of the recent 2023 Women’s World Cup, according to data compiled by Australian football news and information portal Keepup. Mary Fowler’s Instagram (IG) follower … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Four hundred Australian authors back Voice to Parliament

Four hundred Australian authors have thrown their support behind the campaign that seeks to amend the Australian constitution to include an Indigenous Voice to parliament. Katherine Brabon, Shankari Chandran (winner of the 2023 Miles Franklin literary award), Mick Cummins, Sophie … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

The perils of a cashless Australian society

Image courtesy of Squirrel photos. Just seven percent of Australians are “high cash” users according to Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia. Tap-to-pay contactless payment methods, which are simple and convenient to use, have dispensed with the need to carry w … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Threads web version here soon, Font Awesome glyph available

Threads users have been waiting for a bevy of features to be added to the micro-blogging platform, and it looks like a web version — something I’ve certainly been looking forward to — may arrive in a few days. Last week Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram (and I guess Threads), said … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Pulling Weeds, Folding Laundry, a book by Leslie K. Lau

Sydney based Australian writer and artist Leslie K. Lau recently self-published a book, Pulling Weeds, Folding Laundry. These are tasks many people probably don’t care to think much about, let alone carry out, but Lau saw them in a new light — as moments between moments — while u … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Threads still among top apps at Apple and Google

John Gruber, writing at Daring Fireball last week: At this moment, Threads is #2 on the App Store’s top free downloads list, and X is #51. On the Play Store, Threads is #6 and X is (scroll, scroll, scroll…) #66. This rebranding would be a firing offense if the mastermind behind i … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

2024 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards open for entries

Entries for the 2024 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards (VPLA) are open until Sunday 10 September 2023. The VPLA is one of Australia’s most valuable literary awards, and the shortlists — which will likely be announced sometime in December — are always filled packed with quality … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

World Cup bronze medal slips through exhausted Matildas fingers

The Matildas two nil loss to Sweden in the third-place playoff match in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, played at Brisbane Stadium, on Saturday 19 August, came not only as a disappointment, but also a surprise, to supporters of the Australian women’s football team. Although the … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Venomous Lumpsucker wins 2023 Arthur C. Clarke book award

Book cover of Venomous Lumpsucker, written by Ned Beauman. British novelist and screenwriter Ned Beauman has been named winner of the 2023 Arthur C. Clarke Award science fiction book of the year, with his fifth novel, Venomous Lumpsucker, which was published by Penguin Random Hou … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Rowan Heath wins 2023 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize

Melbourne based Australian author Rowan Heath was named winner of the 2023 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize at an online ceremony held last night, with a fiction work titled The Mannequin. The prize was created in 2010 to honour the memory of late British born Australian wr … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Barbie, highest grossing movie of all time at Palace Cinemas

While Barbie, Greta Gerwig’s latest feature, has some way to go to become the highest grossing movie of all time — it’s currently ranked twenty-six — it is now the highest grossing movie of all time at Australian film-house chain, Palace Cinemas. Previously, The King’s Speech, ma … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

You don’t get 100,000,000 followers without telling a few stories

After reading Move fast and beat Musk: The inside story of how Meta built Threads, by Naomi Nix and Will Oremus of The Washington Post, I’m certain the story behind the launch of Meta’s rival to Twitter, Threads is ripe for adaptation to the big screen. In exactly the same way Th … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

ABC streamlines Twitter/X activity, Musk calls it censorship

Last week, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reduced the number of active pages it has on Twitter/X to just four. The Triple J page, which I follow, was among accounts to be archived. David Anderson, managing director of the ABC, says the move follows a trial in Febru … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Critic Swallows Book marks 10 years for Sydney Review of Books

Book cover of Critic Swallows Book, published by the Sydney Review of Books. Australian literary criticism journal, the Sydney Review of Books (SRB), has been online for ten years. To mark the occasion, SRB has published a book, Critic Swallows Book, containing twenty-two essays, … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood adapted for stage at Belvoir St Theatre

A stage adaptation of Australian author Charlotte Wood’s 2019 novel, The Weekend, opened in Sydney on Saturday 5 August 2023. I read a few months ago that a production company had bought the film rights, but I didn’t know about the stage adaptation. Much of the dark humour permea … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Dan Ackerman claims Tetris film story copied from his 2016 book

Book cover of The Tetris Effect, written by Dan Ackerman. Dan Ackerman, editor-in-chief of design and technology publication Gizmodo, claims in a recent court filing that Apple TV+, producers of the 2023 film Tetris, directed by Jon S. Baird, copied the storyline from his 2016 bo … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

You Already Know, the new single from Jacoténe

Jacoténe, the Melbourne based Australian soul and pop singer, whose vocals reminds more than a few people of Amy Winehouse, has released a new single, You Already Know. This a year after she won Triple J’s Unearthed High with her song I Need Therapy. | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Would watching films be more fun if smartphones were banned?

Image courtesy of Startup Stock Photos. Blockbusters such as Barbie and Oppenheimer have been a windfall for cinemas struggling as a consequence of the Covid lockdowns of recent years, and stories of packed auditoriums are surely good news. But the news hasn’t been all good. In s … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

A history of the Beastie Boys as hip hop turns 50 this year

One for fans of erstwhile New York City hip hop act, the Beastie Boys, a write up from 2015 by Don Condon, music editor at Double J. As well as being one of the world’s great hip hop groups, the Beastie Boys’ evolution also happens to be one of the scene’s most fascinating. As we … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Online symposium VOLUME seeks to encourage Australians to read more

Australian authors Jess Scully, Kate Larsen, and Nardi Simpson, are among speakers at VOLUME, a one day symposium, taking place online, on Thursday 21 September 2023. Amidst concerns Australians do not read enough, VOLUME will explore strategies to encourage more people to read. … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Barbie by Greta Gerwig earns one billion dollars at box office

With Barbie, American filmmaker Greta Gerwig has become the first woman director to make a billion dollar earning movie. In addition, Barbie is, so far, just one of nine films to reach the milestone featuring a woman as the main protagonist: Nine, that is, if you count female fis … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

The variola virus AKA smallpox, more enlightened darkness from Kurzgesagt

What’s with the doom and gloom emanating from Kurzgesagt recently? In the last few months their videos have covered a range of grim topics including biological weapons of mass destruction, the difficulty in beating cancer, black holes that destroy galaxies, and tales of woe about … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Private equity firm KKR buys publisher Simon & Schuster

The book publisher is said to have been bought for US$1.62 billion, reports The Guardian. This in the wake of the failed 2020 takeover attempt by Penguin Random House, which was blocked in late 2022, by a US court. Late in 2020, Paramount had announced the sale of Simon & … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

The Rooster, a film by Mark Leonard Winter, with Hugo Weaving

A scene from The Rooster, a film by Mark Leonard Winter. The Rooster, trailer, is the debut feature of Australian actor turned filmmaker Mark Leonard Winter, starring veteran actor Hugo Weaving, and Phoenix Raei. The Rooster had its world premiere on Saturday 5 August 2023, at th … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

You and the Universe, a new book by Stephen Hawking for children

A children’s book titled You and the Universe, written by late British physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, will be published in March 2024: The new book is based upon a 2018 partnership Hawking’s family had with the European Space Agency, along with the Greek composer Vang … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Indie Blog, see random blog posts, go places in the blogosphere

Indie Blog, is a blogroll website by Andreas Gohr, akin to and feedle, but with a slight difference. Instead of searchable lists, Indie Blog takes visitors to a random post from one of the websites on their directory. You mightn’t know where you’re going, but that’s … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Legal Lullabies: find hidden TOS sleep inducing algorithms

How many hours of sleep are lost, each night, across the world, to the likes of Facebook, TikTok, Twitter/X, Instagram, and (maybe) Threads? Too many to count, I’m guessing. But there may be a panacea, by way of, ironically, the same tech companies who developed these sleep depri … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Find live music performances on the Live Music Archive

The Live Music Archive, part of the Internet Archive, contains close to a quarter of a million entries, dating back to 1959. The chances of tracking down recordings of live performances by your favourite artists and bands are therefore probably pretty good. | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Have film influencers killed off insightful film critique?

London based film writer Manuela Lazić, writing for The Guardian: If the internet has paved the way for the devaluation of cinema via streaming platforms, it has also done the same for film criticism. The democratising effect is undeniable, but so is the cheapening one, li … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Twitter/X announces full time dark mode, then goes dark on idea

A few days after Twitter rebranded as X, company owner Elon Musk announced the X interface would be permanently switched into dark mode. In the usual course of events, dark mode allows users of a website or app to temporarily swap light coloured backgrounds for darker ones. It’s … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Boost Threads engagement by making the platform more useful

Image courtesy of Igor Ovsyannykov. The number of people using Threads, Meta’s micro-blogging app, together with the amount of time they are spending there, has continued to decline, according to Israeli web analytics company, Similarweb. It’s certainly not what a lot of people w … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Ghosted World: An Uncanceled Asian American Literature Festival

Partners and participants of this year’s abruptly cancelled Asian American Literature Festival (AALF) are staging a smaller version of the event from Friday 4 August 2023, through to Sunday 6 August. Like the original event, which was meant to take place in August, Ghosted World … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Rising humidity levels are making heatwaves unbearable

Heatwaves, which have been experienced in a number of regions in the northern hemisphere in recent weeks, are being aggravated by increased levels of humidity, which is being precipitated by climate change. While it might be thought higher temperatures would cause moisture to eva … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The workings of the universe are my spirit animal

The best way to understand the universe — to whatever extent that is possible — may be to see the cosmos as an animal. A fascinating, yet somewhat unpredictable animal, says Andrew Pontzen, a professor of cosmology at University College London, writing for The Guardian: It once s … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Publishing contracts that allow AI chatbots to learn from books

A few weeks ago, I wrote about two authors, Mona Awad and Paul Tremblay, who had filed a law suit against OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT. Awad and Tremblay were claiming books they had written were being used to help “train” the AI powered chatbot. They say this had happened wi … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

2023 Emmy Awards postponed until January 2024

Organisers of the annual Emmy Awards have postponed the 2023 ceremony, originally scheduled for Monday 18 September, until January 2024, citing the on-going WGA and SAG-AFTRA screenwriters’ strikes, according to a Variety report: Vendors for the 75th Primetime Emmys have been tol … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The Penguin Books 2023 Write It Fellowship Shortlist

The 2023 Write It Fellowship shortlist was announced earlier this month, and is made up of eleven writers with works of fiction spanning historical, autobiographical, crime, psychological horror, fantasy, memoir, and poetry genres. The Write It Fellowship was established by book … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Global boiling replaces global warming as world swelters through July

The world has sweated through its hottest three weeks on record, as heatwaves continue to ravage parts of the northern hemisphere. Possibly the last time temperatures were this warm was one hundred thousand years ago. Typically these records, which track the average air temperatu … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

The Twitter rebrand, an X shaped railroad switch to the wrong track

Mary Winter, semiotics specialist at Australian branding agency Principals, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, about the symbolism behind X, the new logo of Twitter, now known as X. The move possibly says a lot about what is going through the mind of Elon Musk, owner of Twitt … | Continue reading | 4 months ago