There are many reasons to adore libraries on Library Lovers’ Day

Modern libraries can take the form of a local book exchange to a huge community centre, complete with roof gardens and cafes.

The reasons why Australians love them are just as diverse. From the smell of books to the friendly librarian, there are plenty of reasons to visit, and to love, our libraries.

To mark Library Lovers’ Day, here are some of the OUP Australia staff’s favourites.

Elisabeth

I did high school work experience at the library. I love books and so I spent a lot of time there; I wanted to see what it was like behind the scenes.

As a kid, I remember borrowing the Saddle Club books, or sitting in the kids’ section of my local library and reading.

Melpo

I love libraries. My sister works at a law library, so when we were in New York, we visited the legal library there. We also went to the New York library with the lions out the front, and we visited libraries in Washington DC and Beverly Hills. We also visited the Beast’s Library from Beauty and the Beast at Disneyland. Pure Magic!.

I love taking photos of the buildings. The library in Boston had beautiful study rooms, with green lamps and high ceilings – it was really picturesque.

I also regularly go to my local library in Carnegie to borrow books.

I remember my primary school library, and story time with the librarian. When I started work at here, I was excited to see some of the books that I read at that time, by Robin Klein and Alison Lester, were published by Oxford.

Boston1

Adriana

I remember going to the school library when I arrived in Australia from Italy when I was 11. I used to go to learn English and there was a great librarian there – she was enthusiastic and friendly, and spent time going through the books with me. I still have a copy of the Wizard of Oz that I read at the time. There were books about learning English, but I liked the novels the best.

Now, I often go to my local library to borrow books.

Jordan

I love my local library because I can go there to get all the new releases. It has great service and is nice and quiet. Usually, I reserve books and go there to pick them up, but sometimes, I go and browse or do some life admin or writing.

When I was at uni, I used to go to the State Library to study. There was a little nook in the Redmond Barry Reading Room that was nice and quiet, and it smelt good.

Alex

I’ve just joined the Bargoonga Nganjin North Fitzroy library. It’s in a beautiful, brand new building on St Georges Road. It has a roof top garden and a community centre, and hosts concerts and other events. It’s a really nice space.

I just borrowed my first book from it for book club – Extinctions by Josephine Wilson.

Fleur

I have strong memories of starting to read ‘proper’ novels in high school. I remember reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and S.E. Hinton’s books, and wondering how I was ever going to make a dent in all of the books along those huge shelves.

At uni, I loved the quiet and sense of studiousness at the library. It was a peaceful escape from the activity at the college where I lived.

As a mother, I reacquainted myself with libraries, taking my children to Rhyme Time. It was a happy surprise to see how libraries had become much more than just books – they were gathering places and learning spaces, with the books at their centre.

Parents need better support to ensure the health and well-being of children

Parents play a more important role than any choice of school in the mental health, well-being and even earning potential of children.

That is the belief of Matthew Sanders, the founder of the hugely successful Triple-P (Positive Parenting Program). The program, developed at the University of Queensland, has helped millions of families with the help of more than 30 years of research, becoming one of the Australia’s greatest social science exports.

Dr Sanders will launch The Power of Positive Parenting book, celebrating three decades of the program’s development, at the University of Queensland on Wednesday, 7 February.

As part of the release of the book, Dr Sanders is urging the Australian government to take a population-wide approach to parenting to improve the future of families, describing an emphasis on parenting as a major public health initiative.

“Statewide availability of The University of Queensland-developed Triple P – Positive Parenting Program in Queensland is an example of a forward-thinking, community health approach that supports parents to promote positive outcomes for children across the state,” he said.

“Unfortunately, there is not enough of this kind of thinking when it comes to government spending. Too often, when evidence-based or non-evidence parenting services are offered, support is limited to the most vulnerable, those who have been identified and targeted by agencies as needing help.

“While well-meaning, such an approach will never shift rates of children’s early onset mental health issues or child maltreatment. A mindset that views parents as the problem, rather than part of the solution and singles them out for attention is only going to send parents away from the very support we are trying to give them.”

Dr Sanders is concerned that parents’ about the outsourcing in public policy of parents’ responsibilities – of schools charged with improving children’s resilience and mental health and of the medical profession to deal with the common and everyday issues parents face in raising children.

He said that the way children are parented profoundly affects their long-term health, their ability to learn, their mental well-being and how they get on with others. Ultimately, it can determine their likelihood of ending up in jail, taking drugs, becoming violent, or alternatively, participating meaningfully in society.

“Evidence-based parenting programs can help parents and children regulate their emotions and behaviour, using competently trained and supervised staff, or robustly evaluated online interventions. They have an active coaching component and allow for the practice of skills as part of their core curriculum.”

Rather than blaming parents for society’s problems, Dr Sanders believes we needed to start supporting them with a public health approach informed by evidence.

Find out more about The Power of Positive Parenting  or listen to Dr Sanders speak about parenting on Talking Lifestyle

Power of positive parenting

Oxford Word of the Month: February – doing the doors

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noun: (of a politician) giving doorstop interviews to the media, especially at Parliament House.

 

THE STORY BEHIND THE WORD OF THE MONTH

A favourite tactic of journalists seeking comment from politicians is to conduct a brief interview with them as they enter or leave a building. In Australia this kind of interview has been known since the early 1980s as doorstopping or a doorstop (‘I doorstopped the Premier, who ruled out an early election’; ‘cabinet members didn’t hold the usual doorstops before their weekly meeting’). In theory the doorstop is an impromptu occasion, but it is often used as an opportunity for a party or government to deliver a scripted message. It is a familiar piece of theatre on the nightly news.

In the twenty-first century we find a new term for this activity: doing the doors (‘the Member for Barcoo is doing the doors today’). The term casts politicians as agents seeking to be interviewed, rather than as innocent victims of doorstopping. The earliest recorded evidence shows that the ‘impromptu’ interview is often planned:

A new Labor backbencher has admitted the federal Government has a roster of MPs primed and ready to deliver the message of the day to waiting media as they walk through the doors of Parliament House every morning.
Doing the doors’ gives politicians a chance to comment on the issues of the day, to turn round negative stories in the papers and breakfast radio and TV, or add to their opponents’ discomfort. (The Australian, 19 June 2008)

Doing the doors in the political sense is an Australian English term. An older meaning exists for the same expression in Australia and elsewhere; it describes the job of a bouncer, who controls the intake of patrons at clubs and pubs, or the job of a door person, who sells tickets at the door of an event or performance.

A sense of performance is certainly inherent in the Australian meaning, and critical reviews are not uncommon. One commentator referred to the politicians who ‘do the doors’ at the bidding of their leaders as ‘puppets reciting their prepared statements when allocated the task of “doing the doors” for the television grabs’. (Crikey, 10 June 2011) Another described doing the doors as ‘the cute ritual of pollies lining up at the main entrance on the Reps side of the building to deploy pithy one-liners for the assembled media hacks’. (West Australian, 1 December 2009)

But doing the doors continues to be an important ritual for media and politicians, and, despite cold winters and frosty mornings in the nation’s capital, the show must go on:

Frost lay on the ground. Hot air balloons hung in the sky. At 7.50am in the national capital, Eric Abetz was doing the doors. (Sydney Morning Herald, 2 June 2010)

 

Doing the doors will be considered for inclusion in the next edition of the Australian National Dictionary.

 

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In the age of spellcheckers, why do children still need a dictionary or thesaurus?

Today’s children never need to make a mistake. Before they even know they have misspelt (or should that be ‘misspelled’*?) something, it has been corrected by a spellchecker.

And so, why would they continue to need a dictionary?

Here are some points explaining why dictionaries continue to be important learning tools in the digital age.

  • To get spelling right

A dictionary will help to clear up those spelling issues which will cost children valuable marks. Confusable words, like ‘their’, ‘there’ and ‘they’re’ are highlighted, with additional help in children’s dictionaries.


complement NOUN complements 1 the quantity needed to fill or complete something –The ship had its full complement of sailors. 2 the word or words used after verbs such as be and become to complete the sense. In She was brave and He became king of England, the complements are brave and King of England.


  • To understand meaning

Oxford’s children’s dictionaries define words using a context that is familiar to and appropriate for each child’s age, with example sentences to illustrate how these words can be used at their best. Where a word has more than one meaning, each one is numbered.

Dictionaries will help to extend and enrich their vocabulary, which at school can help move them towards the top grades.


irony (say I-ron-ee) NOUN ironies 1 saying the opposite of what you mean in order to emphasize it, e.g. saying ‘What a lovely day’ when it is pouring with rain. 2 an oddly contradictory situation –The irony of it is that I tripped while telling someone else to be careful. [from Greek eiron = someone who pretends not to know]


  • To understand how language works, including punctuation and grammar

Dictionaries help a child to develop children’s writing skills by showing relationships between words, and how you can use grammar and punctuation to greater effect. Extra help is included on how to avoid common mistakes, for example in using an apostrophe correctly.


less ADJECTIVE & ADVERB  smaller in amount; not so much – Make less noise. It is less important.
USAGE Do not use less when you mean fewer. You should use fewer when you are talking about a number of individual things, and less when you are talking about a quantity or mass of something: –The less batter you make, the fewer pancakes you’ll get.


Why do children need a thesaurus?

A thesaurus will help to improve a child’s writing, whether it is writing reports, essays, or creatively for stories or poetry. They can be a further reference for help on punctuation and grammar, in addition to providing the right word for every occasion. A thesaurus can:

Find an alternative or more interesting word, for example, why use ‘walk’, when you could use ‘stroll’, ‘ramble’, or ‘saunter’?

Provide help on particularly overused words, such as ‘go’, ‘say’, and ‘get’.

Find the right word, specific person, place or thing’ for example, if you look up ‘shop’, you will find that someone who sells sweets is called a ‘confectioner’.


nice ADJECTIVE This word is often overused. Here are some alternatives:
1 We had a nice time in Greece.
– pleasant, agreeable, enjoyable, marvellous, wonderful, delightful, splendid
2 They are such nice people.
– pleasant, likeable, agreeable, personable, friendly, congenial, genial
3 That’s rather a nice distinction.
–  fine, subtle, delicate, fastidious

 


*according to the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘misspelt’ and ‘misspelled’ are both acceptable. ‘Misspelt’ is more usual in British English and ‘misspelled’ in American English.

 

A guide to Kwaussie slang

We all know that, at times, Australians speak their own language, ‘Strine. But what about our neighbours in New Zealand?

It turns out that the language of New Zealanders can be just as confusing for outsiders.

So, after Kwaussie was named the Australian Word of the Year in 2017, in the spirit of neighbourly understanding, we thought it was time to learn New Zealand.

Hopefully, our Australian and New Zealand slang guide will  help us bridge the Kwaussie divide.

Kwaussie slang

 

New Zealand slang

 

Aussie slang

 

Definition

 

corner dairy

 

milk bar

 

A small grocery shop

jandals thongs Known as flip-flops in the UK, defined in the Australian National Dictionary as: A flat-soled sandal held on the foot by a bifurcated thong passing between the first and second toes.
puku belly/pot A person’s stomach or belly, is from Maori
bach beach shack/bush shack Short for ‘bachelor’, the verb means to live alone and to do one’s own cooking and housekeeping, but the noun denotes a small holiday house
munted stuffed In a state of disastrous disintegration; broken or ruined
kai tucker Kai, meaning food, is from Maori
tramp bushwalk While tramp means ‘to walk heavily’ in many varieties of English, only in New Zealand is someone likely to use the word to mean ‘walk for long distances in rough country for recreation’. The term ‘bushwalk’ is more commonly used in Australia.
wop wops woop woop A remote town or district

Our favourite Aussie books

Our favourite Australian stories take place by the sea, in the outback, in cosmopolitan cities or deep suburbia. Their protagonists range from an Australian of African descent to child learning about her Indigenous heritage; and an elderly German professor to a magic pudding.

Such is the variety of Australian literature that it is difficult to place Australian books in a single category.

In a list of OUP staff members’ favourite Aussie books, many that might be considered Australian classics were missing – while there was no Cloudstreet, a different Tim Winton book was mentioned; there was no Picnic at Hanging Rock, but another Lindsay made an appearance; and My Brilliant Career and The Getting of Wisdom were replaced by more contemporary visions of Australian life from Jennifer Down and Maxine Beneba Clarke.

In fact, such is the breadth of Australian literature that no single book or author appeared twice.

Here are some of our top Aussie books – we’d love to hear about yours.

Jordan Irving

Monkey Grip by Helen Garner – One of my favourite books. A shimmering, stream of consciousness narrative that makes you feel like you’re sitting poolside and riding around the streets of Fitzroy and Carlton – JUST like the characters! Ostensibly a love story about Nora (VERY much based on Garner) and her heroin-addicted sometimes-boyfriend Javo, this book also functions as a depiction of the share house/theatre/artist community culture in Melbourne in the ‘80s. Was originally published without much editing/tweaking to the manuscript which is a pretty impressive feat for a debut novelist!

The Strays by Emily Bitto – Another debut. Set in Melbourne in the 1930s. Centred around two young best friends, Lily and Eva, and told from Lily’s perspective. Eva is the daughter of fictional avant-garde painter Evan Trentham, whose home becomes a refuge for “stray” artists who can’t afford to paint and work and live otherwise. Lily and Eva are inseparable and Lily spends her childhood at the Trentham home, becoming more and more enamoured with the artists’ and their way of life… until something TERRIBLE happens, leaving the characters scattered and causing a decades-long rift between Lily and Eva. Pretty good, quick read!

Our Magic Hour by Jennifer Down – Yet another debut! About a young woman reeling from the suicide of her closest female friend. Really great meditation on friendship, love, relationships and grief. Similar to Monkey Grip in that it’s meandering and without much plot but it’s very evocative and beautifully written.

The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke – Very engaging and hard to read autobiography about Beneba Clarke’s childhood and adolescence growing up in Australia after her parents emigrated from England. Born to British-born, Afro-Caribbean parents Beneba Clarke was one of the few non-white children in her school, and was ruthlessly and relentlessly targeted and bullied by the other kids – and unfortunately a few of the teachers too. A really good insight into the pervasiveness of racism in Australian culture and a really important book to read, especially in our current unfortunate political climate.

Caly James

I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Alex Miller.  Each novel is different to the last and they are stories that stay with you long after you’ve finished the last page. Landscape of Farewell charts the journey of a chance friendship between an unlikely duo:  Max, a visiting elderly professor from Germany and Dougald, an Aboriginal elder from outback Queensland.  Tenderly written this is a story of coming to terms with one’s past but also of forgiveness and reconciliation.

My favourite Tim Winton is The Turning – a collection of 17 interlinked short stories. I marvel at the frugality of Winton’s writing and his ability to say so much with so little.

The Women in Black by Madeline St John is an absolute treat.  Set in Sydney circa 1950’s, we meet Lisa, Miss Baines, Mrs Williams and Magda, all are shop assistants serving in the  frock department at Goode’s – Sydney’s premier department store (aka David Jones).  There’s a good deal of humour along with  sharp observation of everyday detail making this a delightful read as we traverse the ordinary and the extraordinary witnessing both disappointment as well as hopes and possibilities.

Fleur Morrison

All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld – I just finished reading this book, written by an ex-pat Australian and set between the UK and Australia. It is about a woman whose terrible decision forced her to take flight from her past life – into a harsh and masculine world. Wyld sets the scene beautifully, and portrays a frightened, troubled, but strong character trying to survive.

All that I Am by Anna Funder – while this book isn’t based in Australia, the author is Australian. Based on real events, it follows a group of characters effected by the Nazi regime in Britain and Germany. The story is built around a nonagenarian  in Sydney and a renowned playwright living in New York in 1939.  I love Funder’s way with words and the story is haunting.

My Place by Sally Morgan – When I read this in my teens, and I really loved it. The story is a memoir about family, place and the histories that are unspoken. Many parts of the story were familiar, yet others were completely new to me, introducing me to parts of the experience of Indigenous Australians, in a very accessible way.

Alex Chambers (and his dad)

My favourite is The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay. I loved this one when I was growing up! (Bonus: I asked my dad and he said Voss by Patrick White.)

Marta Malachowski

My fave Aussie author is Bryce Courtenay. I haven’t yet read his whole collection, but one of my favourite titles is The Family Frying Pan. It details the journey through Siberia made by his grandma and includes stories from those that trekked with her, AND it includes recipes that relate to each person’s personal journey/ story.

Another author I’ve recently grown to love is Liane Moriarty. I equally love her books The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies – I never knew I could be so drawn to a story!

What are your favourite Aussie books or writers?

Celebrating 110 years of OUP in Australia

In 2018, Oxford University Press is celebrating 110 years in Australia. To give that some context, when the office was opened in 1908:

  • Women had just won the right to vote in Victoria
  • Canberra didn’t exist
  • The recorded Australian population was 4,232,278, around 20 million fewer people than today.

The Australian branch now employs over 100 staff and publishes a vast array of educational books and dictionaries. The original purpose of the office, however, was to make life easier for a travelling book salesman.

The salesman was E. R. Bartholomew (initials were very big in those days), who had been recruited into the book trade from the YMCA in 1890. E. R. worked for the publisher Hodder & Stoughton (now an imprint of Hachette), selling books throughout England, Wales and Ireland in a single ‘autumn journey’.

Hodder had their sights set on a more exotic market – Australia. This faraway land was usually avoided by English publishers, mainly because it took six weeks by ship to get there. Hodder decided to minimise this problem by sending their salesman to Australia for a six-month stint, every two years. They also partnered with another publisher to share the cost of the long sea voyage. The other publisher, of course, was Oxford University Press.

So that was that. Every two years E. R. Bartholomew would set out to Australia with his supply of Hodder and Oxford books. And at the start of each trip, his boss at Hodder would bid him farewell with the words, ‘Mind you get back in good time for the autumn journey.’ Bartholomew was almost constantly on the road like this for eighteen years, the final four working just for Oxford. By that time, business was going so well that OUP decided that he should make the trip to Australia every year. E. R., who must have been exhausted by now, drew the line at nearly the whole year away from home and family, and asked if he could move permanently to Australia. The new branch opened in Melbourne in 1908.

The location decided upon was an office in the Cathedral Buildings, next door to St Paul’s Cathedral on Flinders Street. This made sense, since OUP’s main business in 1908 was selling bibles. E. R. was joined in the office by his son, E. E., and they quickly became the best known representatives of British publishing in Australia. E. R.’s sales techniques were more formal than those of 2018: he always wore a top hat while selling his bibles, and insisted that he and his customer begin business by sharing a short prayer.

The only other employees were an office boy who unpacked the boxes of books, and E. R.’s sister, Elsie. OUP’s business manager Henry Frowde employed no women in England, and looked upon Elsie quite unkindly, referring to her as ‘our typewriter’.

By 1914, the Australian branch was publishing its own books. The first was probably the Australasian School Atlas, intended for schools in New South Wales. This was followed by works such as A Short History of Australia, the Oxford Book of Australian Verse and the succinctly titled Physiographic and Economic Geography of Australia. This last book was banned in Western Australia because the author mentioned for the first time in print that Australia was mainly desert (bad for immigration apparently). The branch also had the rights to sell the books of the Australian publisher Angus & Robertson, including the classics Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and The Man from Snowy River.

E. R. Bartholomew retired in 1922, and was succeeded as manager by E. E., who stayed on until 1949. Between father and son, they were in charge of OUP’s Australian operations for almost 60 years. They’d be happy to know that the Australian branch is still going strong in 2018 and still publishing school atlases.

References

Eyre, F. (1978). Oxford in Australia: 1890–1978. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2014). ‘Australian Historical Population Statistics, 2014’. Accessed from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3105.0.65.001

Oxford Word of the Month: January – egg flip

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noun: a kitchen utensil with a broad flat blade for lifting and turning food.

THE STORY BEHIND THE WORD OF THE MONTH

The history of egg flip is an interesting one. In standard English use, dating back to the 1830s, it is a sweetened milk drink containing beaten egg, with rum, brandy, or other flavouring. Many, perhaps older, Australians will know a tame version without alcohol from childhood. (It used to be recommended as food for invalids.) The second element in this sense of egg flip may derive from flip in the sense ‘to whip up’.

The first exclusively Australian meaning occurs in the 1950s, when egg flip is recorded as rhyming slang for a racing ‘tip’:

As a horse was led close to them, the Wrecker, eager for information, addressed the trainer: ‘Ah Doc, how about givin’ a bloke d’egg flip?’ (J. Alard, He Who Shoots Last, 1968)

Since this time, another Australian meaning of egg flip has become much more common than the rhyming slang sense. It refers to the long-handled kitchen utensil with the broad, flat blade, used for turning and lifting food such as fried eggs, rissoles, and pancakes. (The same thing is called a fish slice in British English.) Australians have several names for this utensil, with spatula perhaps the most common, but egg flip is also widely used.

It is unclear whether this sense of egg flip is related to the earlier egg and milk drink. Perhaps it was influenced by the existence of the older term, but with a different understanding of the second element. Anyone flipping pancakes with this utensil is likely to interpret the flip in egg flip as meaning ‘to turn over’.

Recorded evidence is fairly recent, dating back to this report of a recipe for ‘Egg Toast’:

Fry the … slices in the frying pan with the margarine. …Turn the toast over with the egg flip, fry that side too. (Canberra Times, 26 July 1985)

However, anecdotal evidence suggests the name egg flip for the utensil is likely to be found earlier than the 1980s. The following editorial comment in a Western Australian newspaper is tantalising as possible early evidence:

Many thanks for the item, which I handed to ‘Virgilia’ as suitable for her pages. ‘Sonny Boy’ apparently did not appreciate your method of applying the egg flip. (Perth Western Mail, 13 January 1938)

‘Virgilia’ was the name of the editor of the ‘Virgilians’ Friendly Corner’ section of the newspaper, which published letters from women about their lives and families. In this context, the reference to ‘applying the egg flip’ to ‘Sonny Boy’ may (unfortunately) point to the punishment of a child with the utensil.

Egg flip will be considered for inclusion in the next edition of the Australian National Dictionary.

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Literary New Year’s resolutions from the OUP Team

As the end of 2017 draws near and we look towards a new year with varying degrees of optimism, it’s time to consider our New Year’s resolutions.

In the OUP office, we have eschewed the usual resolutions involving eating and drinking less and exercising more, in the hope of having a higher level of success (and continue to indulge in regular sugar-laden morning and afternoon teas) with our literary New Year’s resolutions.

Below is the list of novels that we resolve to read in 2018, and some books that we think are perfect beach reads for the summer break. No scales or Fitbits involved!


Angela Glindemann, Sales and Marketing Coordinator

This year I want to read:

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien – This insightful author spoke at the Adelaide Writers’ Week this year, and I’ve been keen to read this book ever since. From what I’ve read, it combines a story of familial roots with the broader history of China in the twentieth century, and sounds like a fascinating read.

My favourite holiday read is:

The Town by Shaun Prescott – This is a delightful book for those who count existential thoughts as a holiday activity. It will make you question who we are and where we’re going, in an unsettling and uniquely Australian way. It’s not really a beach read, although there is a beach in The Town.


Marta, Marketing Coordinator, Schools Division

This year I want to read:

Extinctions by Josephine Wilson – the story sounds really interesting, about an older man needing to choose between his life-long possessions and his family.

The Sea by John Banville – this book won the 2005 Man Booker Prize.

The Silent Companions: A ghost story by Laura Purcell – I’ve always loved a bit of a ghost story and this one sounded interesting.

Sugar Money by Jane Harris – a story set in 1765 about slaves and their mission to smuggle back the 42 slaves claimed by English invaders.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan – I stumbled on this book while searching for another Jennifer Egan book. The reviews were very positive and I discovered that this book was the winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan – the newest release by Jennifer Egan. Once I knew Jennifer Egan was a Pulitzer Prize winner, I didn’t hesitate to add this to my wish list.

Devil’s Day by Andrew Michael Hurley – the story is based around a family farm and the hard choices that need to be made by the family.

The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott – written by a National Book Award-winning author and the book was shortlisted for the 2017 Kirkus Prize. This novel is about three generations of an Irish immigrant family in 1940s and 1950s Brooklyn.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – this book won the 2017 Man Booker Prize. It’s about Abraham Lincoln dealing with the death of his 11-year-old son.

My favourite beach reads are:

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn


Fleur, Marketing and Communications Advisor

This year I want to read:

The Dry by Jane Harper – this book has attracted so much positive attention, and I love the way that Harper was so honest when she was asked about how the book came about, saying that she approached it like any project: educating herself, planning and finally, writing the book. It was a practical approach to the reality of writing.

The Choke by Sophie Laguna – this is another book that has been raved about on social media, so I’d like to see what the fuss is about. I’m steeling myself for a confronting read, but I enjoy it when a book makes a big impact.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris – I’ve always wanted to read a book by Sedaris, and I picked this one up second hand, so this is my chance.

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell – A colleague mentioned they were enjoying this memoir detailing O’Farrell’s numerous brushes with death, and I think it sounds like an interesting concepts. I don’t usually choose memoirs, but this one seems to be a bit different.

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout – I read Strout’s Olive Kitteridge this year and loved how it was so grim, but also insightful and touching, and Anything is Possible one has attracted equally positive reviews.

My  favourite beach reads are:

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth – it allows the reader to enter a different world, and become part of an Indian family, with all of the complexities that involves. It’s an easy but immersive read, perfect for the beach.

Commonwealth by Anne Patchett – this is another story about family, but a different one. Commonwealth details the life of a complicated family that is broken apart, then put together in a different way. It regularly takes the reader to sunny days at the beach, that echo a childhood and sense of long summer days familiar to many Australians.


Nami Thompson, Sales and Administration Support

This year I want to read:

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin – For 2018 I would like to read George R. R. Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire series to fill the void left by Games of Thrones as the final season won’t premiere until 2019.

My favourite beach read is:

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris –  t’s a hilarious collection of illustrated fables for adults.


Emma Magill, Publishing and Editorial Manager

My favourite beach read is:

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue – I have recommended this book to everyone and anyone who will listen! It is warm, funny and full of heart. It cleverly manages to be an easy, absorbing read while exploring complex social issues such as immigration and the global financial crisis.


Alex Chambers, Editorial Coordinator, Higher Education

This year I want to read:

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (which everyone keeps raving about)

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman (before the film comes out)

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (which I hope can make me smarter)

My favourite beach read is:

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I read this for my book club this year and it’s a winner.


Valerie Stoelen, Editor: Secondary

This year I want to read:

Mythos by Steven Fry – because … Greek myths + Steven Fry

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – because … the beautiful special edition hardcover

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – because … it is still in the bestseller list and I have almost bought it so many times

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard – because … (the next book in the Red Queen series) teenagers with superpowers + monarchy



Jordan Irving, Editorial Coordinator

This year I want to read:

These are all the books I have on reserve at the library which aren’t expect to arrive until 2018!

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott

Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang

Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss

My favourite holiday read is:

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

The Ripley series by Patricia Highsmith

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters


Frances O’Brien, editor

This year I want to read:

Zanzibar Wife by Deborah Rodriguez – I want to read the Zanzibar Wife by Deborah Rodriguez. I read The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul  a few years ago and really enjoyed it so I am looking forward to seeing what her new book is like.

Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich – I am also looking forward to reading Janet Evanovich’s new book Hardcore Twenty-Four, I absolutely love the Stephanie Plum novels and always devour them.


What are you planning to read during the summer break and in 2018?

The top blog posts of 2017

It has been a big year on the Oxford Australia blog, covering all things education and English language. We’ve seen ‘Kwaussie’ emerge as the Australian Word of the Year, and learnt that Aussie kids are talking about ‘equality’. We’ve explored approaches to maths and literacy, and the continuing relevance of atlases in Australian classrooms.

To mark the end of 2017 and what we’re hoping will be another dynamic year in 2018, we’ve put together a list of our most popular blog posts for the year

1. Finding new Australian words

It’s a year since we celebrated the launch of the new Australian National Dictionary, with its 16,000 Australian words and meanings. Since then we have not been taking it easy and neither has Australian English—we began collecting new words even as we sent off the manuscript to the publisher. We now have more than 300 items worthy of further research.

Our list is deliberately inclusive since we can’t know which terms will prove to be stayers. A number are new or recent coinages that just missed our editorial deadline; others are older terms we rejected as having too little evidence, but now look more established; some are speculative; and some simply flew under our radar. Here is a sample of the terms under consideration as future entries.

2. Moving mathematics learning from “what have I been told?” to “what do I know that can help me?”

There is widespread agreement that student-driven inquiry approaches can help students build understanding, solve problems and reason mathematically. But to ensure that all students are included in learning opportunities, specific teacher actions are needed and lessons can productively be structured in particular ways. These actions include the following:

  • Posing tasks which are mathematically rich, which most students do not already know how to solve, and which require students to make decisions on the solution type and approach.
  • Allowing students time to engage with the task. Perhaps the major difference between students is not their so-called ability but the time they need to engage with the ideas.

3. Australian Word of the Year 2017: Kwaussie

Kwassie has been named Australian Word of the Year 2017!

Kwaussie: ‘a person who is a dual citizen of Australia and New Zealand; a New Zealander living in Australia; a person of Australian and New Zealand descent’.

The Australian National Dictionary Centre, based at The Australian National University, selected Kwaussie, a blend of Kiwi and Aussie, as the most interesting term associated with the dual citizenship crisis engulfing the Australian Parliament in 2017.

4. Bogans are not what they used to be, according to the latest dictionary update

If you thought you knew the definition of a bogan, think again.

Language is a continuously changing landscape, in which new words appear, others fade out of general usage and some evolve and take on different meanings.

Bogan is one of the evolving terms that attracted the attention of the team at the Australian National Dictionary Centre, which is responsible for editing the 6th edition of the Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary (ACOD), released this week.

5. OUP staff select their top 5 books of all time

To mark the Australian Reading Hour on September 14, we asked some Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand staff to list their top five reads of all time.

Do you agree with their selections? What books are in your top five?

6. Phonics is not a dirty word

Phonics is a word that is often misused, misunderstood and abused. Despite what some might argue, it is a method of learning that has much to offer Australian children.

I am often asked why it is so important to teach children phonics, as opposed to learning words through prediction or as a whole word.

Sound is critical in the process of learning to read. Children need to hear, distinguish, isolate, rhyme and articulate sounds and words. Once they are aware of these sounds, they can ready the neural pathways in their brain for learning the connection between letters and sounds. This is the single most critical factor in learning to read.

7. “Donoghue Day” wins Oxford Connecting with Law Short Film Competition

The Connecting with Law Short Film Competition is an annual event run by Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand. It is open to all students enrolled in an Australian law degree and has proven itself to be unique way of encouraging law students to connect with their field of study and contribute to legal education.

For the Tenth Anniversary of the competition, students were invited to make a two-to-five-minute film exploring the theme, ‘Groundbreakers: people, cases or judgements that have changed the shape of Australian law.’ The winning entry was judged to be the most imaginative, instructive and original, with the team demonstrating an ability to reflect creatively on the theme.

8. “Equality” named Oxford Children’s Word of the Year

After countless hours reviewing hundreds of entries, Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand has announced its 2017 Children’s Word of the Year: equality.

The word is a result of an Australia-wide writing competition in which students from Grade Prep to Grade 6 submitted a piece of free writing up to 500 words based on a chosen word. The writing could be creative or factual, funny or serious.

A judging panel, consisting of academics and experts in children’s English language, evaluated competition entries based on a word’s popularity, use of the word in context, and frequency, to determine the Australian Children’s Word of the Year.

9. Help us find the Australian Children’s Word of the Year

Do your students talk Trump or Turnbull, fidget spinners or footy cards? Oxford University Press want to learn more about the way children communicate, and to help us do this we are launching the Children’s Word of the Year free writing competition.

Primary school-aged children are invited to nominate their ‘Word of the Year’ and submit a 500 piece of free writing based on that word. The piece can be creative or factual, funny or serious – it’s up to the student.

10. Consistency and community key to Indigenous literacy: Q&A with Shirley Davey

Literacy is a community affair in the Top End, according to Literacy and Numeracy Trainer Shirley Davey.  In the remote areas where Shirley works, students, families, teachers and trainers are working together to bring the benefits of literacy and numeracy.

We asked Shirley about her experience working in Indigenous literacy.