Zadie Smith’s version of Chaucer’s and a story of connecting to the earth

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Scheherazade and the amber necklace
Gordon Thompson, Clouds of Magellan Press, $ 24.99

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This fantastic interpretation of Arabian nights is told through the eyes of Scheherazade, written here as a stubborn young woman. Melburnian author and editor Gordon Thompson has a fine command of language and a sense of description, with the writing and atmosphere reminiscent of Michael Ende’s 1979 children’s fantasy classic. The never-ending story. Thompson gives the story his own twist while retaining many recognizable elements from the original: flying carpets, mythical jinns, and daring adventures. The sprawling story, separated into several parts, can be difficult to follow, and the wide range of characters can be a bit confusing at times. But overwhelmingly, Thompson’s creative vision and respect for the original text is evident. For young readers, it’s a decent springboard into exploring a timeless classic.

NON-FICTIONAL CHOICE OF THE WEEK
Our country burned by the sun
Anika Molesworth, Macmillan, $ 34.99

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Anika Molesworth may take her title from Dorothea Mackellar’s poem, but she hates political deniers using it to claim that things have always been this way. It’s more than a plea for what she calls “climate courage” to tackle the disaster of climate change, however; it’s also a personal, often poetically rendered, exploration of her deep connection to her family’s sheep station near Broken Hill, that ancient continent and the land. Inspired by Al Gore, Molesworth studied science in college while working on the farm. She has traveled the world, met farmers doing something, and has been inspired by global climate commentators as well. The result is a work of hope still rooted. When the earth is affected by global warming, droughts and monstrous bushfires, it is, for it, injured – just like the animals, including humans, that live on it.

Girt Nation
David Hunt, Black Inc., $ 32.99

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Some of Australia’s most important colonial figures appear in this entertaining and irreverent story as Monty Python pop-ups: Banjo Paterson, Louisa Lawson and Henry, her son, Henry Parkes, feminist Catherine Spence and others spend their hours on the stage at David Hunt’s music hall. But it is Alfred Deakin, second prime minister, raised in the streets of Fitzroy and trained in the Melbourne Grammar, who takes center stage. Hunt has great fun with his spiritualism – Deakin frequently consults with phrenologists and psychics, often unfazed by early electoral losses because a psychic predicted eventual success. Deakin’s dark side in his views on Indigenous Australians is also documented. Larrikins, eccentrics, searing ballerinas and more emerge in some of the most unlikely stories.

Anti-Social media
Kevin Foster, MUP, $ 49.99

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War has been drastically changed by IT, and social media – as this heavily argued survey demonstrates – is at the heart of this change. In the past, insurgent groups had to hijack airliners to gain media attention around the world. All that ISIS or the Taliban need these days is a cell phone and an internet connection. While “non-state actors” use social media to “indoctrinate, recruit, organize and deploy”, conventional Western military forces such as those of the United States, Britain and Australia have been slow to respond. react. IT changes have often favored non-state actors because they have greater flexibility. The Western military, which tends to have a hierarchical, top-down approach to IT, needs this flexibility – to trust its junior ranks and effect bottom-up change – or victories on the ground will be lost. in line.

True to the earth
Paul van Reyk, Reaktion Books $ 49.99

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It is surprising, given how central food is to our lives, that serious studies of the food industry only strike the general public. As Paul van Reyk says in this in-depth study, the history of food is not just about what we ate and ate. At the heart of his study is the concept of “food pathways” – how food is grown, produced, distributed and consumed. It takes us back to land management and indigenous dietary practices, through the colonial period and the introduction of European agriculture to the present day and the new breed of farmers engaging in regenerative practices and turning to them. indigenous cultures. Along the way, we come across a few icons – the Chiko Roll, Vegemite, and Cherry Ripe – as well as the impact of key events such as WWII, American influence, more sophisticated canning, Coca-Cola. Cola and burgers.

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