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Jean Hanff Korelitz: ‘I wanted to be a literary novelist. But I realised that I liked plot’

The author of the book behind TV smash The Undoing talks about her new novel The Plot, a thriller about plagiarism – and how she fell for Hugh GrantIn January 2020, the American novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz was “all in all, not in a great place”, despite the runaway success of the HBO series The Undoing, based on her novel You Should Have Known. She was extremely anxious about a new virus in China that she was reading about (she reads a lot of books on epidemiology). “I was pretty much the only ...
Tags: Books, Hbo, New York, China, Fiction, Stephen King, US news, Culture, Television & radio, Thrillers, Trump, Hugh, Paul Muldoon, Jean Hanff Korelitz, The Undoing, Korelitz

Death and detergents: Spanish poet sets hospital laundry work to verse

Begoña M Rueda reflects on her prize-winning account of laundry work during the Covid crisisCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageSpain was not long into the first wave of the Covid pandemic when the poet and hospital laundry worker Begoña M Rueda realised there wasn’t quite enough room on the public pedestal for all those who worked in the country’s over-stretched and often under-resourced health system.“At eight, people step on to their balconies to applaud / the labours ...
Tags: Europe, Books, Poetry, Spain, World news, Culture, Rueda, Coronavirus, Begoña M Rueda

All the trains in my son’s train podcast ranked by how much I hate them | Ben Jenkins

Living in lockdown with small children means distracting them with the same thing, over and over again, until you – like Ben Jenkins – are driven insaneEvery parent of a young child in lockdown either knows this fact or is about to learn it: you don’t get to choose where they find their joy.For example, my two and half year old son likes to listen to the Thomas and Friends Storytime podcast. It is, by some margin, his favourite thing to do. By a similar margin, the opening “toot toot” of the pod...
Tags: Books, Family, Podcasts, Children, Life and style, Society, Culture, Children and teenagers, Parents and parenting, Thomas, Ben Jenkins, Coronavirus

Winnie-the-Pooh goes to Harrods in new authorised AA Milne prequel

Once There Was a Bear by Jane Riordan and Mark Burgess will channel the original books’ voice and pictorial style using details from Christopher Robin’s real lifeThe story of how Winnie-the-Pooh went from a Harrods toy shelf to the home of Christopher Robin and the Hundred Acre Wood is set to be told for the first time, in an official prequel to AA Milne’s original stories.Winnie-the-Pooh: Once There Was a Bear has been written in the style of Milne by children’s writer Jane Riordan, with illust...
Tags: Books, London, UK News, Culture, Children and teenagers, Harrods, Aa Milne, Winnie, Milne, Christopher Robin, Mark Burgess, Jane Riordan, Shepard Continue

Ready to tackle MIT's recommended reading list for summer 2021?

As we enter the heart of summer, many of us will find ourselves with added time for relaxation and deep reading. The following titles represent a selection of recent offerings from MIT faculty and staff. Happy reading!Novel, Biography, and Memoir"The Planet After Geoengineering" (Actar, 2021)By Rania Ghosn, associate professor of architectureThis graphic novel makes climate engineering and its controversies visible in five stories assembled from the deep underground to outer space. Each "geo-sto...
Tags: Asia, Books, New York, Science, Technology, Mexico, America, Spain, Mit, Culture, Britain, Williams, Ford, Innovation, Literature, Homeland Security

An Ugly Truth by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang review – Facebook’s battle for domination

Russian hacking, smear campaigns and livestreamed massacres are the price of Mark Zuckerberg’s quest for connectivity, grippingly probed by two New York Times journalistsHow many books are there about Facebook? I’ve lost count. Many of them belong to the genre of the “insider” story – by an early investor in the company, perhaps; or by a supposed intimate of its founder and Supreme Leader; or by an ex-employee with a bad conscience for the societal damage for which he (and it’s always a he, by t...
Tags: Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Books, Social Networking, Social Media, Culture, New York Times, Franklin Foer, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Cecilia Kang, Sheera Frenkel, Journalism books, An Ugly Truth

Parklife: the year we fell in love with London’s green spaces

Sophia Spring’s photographs celebrate how London’s many parks became a lifeline for locals during the pandemic, writes novelist David NichollsSee a gallery of Sophia Spring’s images from ParklifeWe didn’t call it the park; it was the “rec”, as in “recreation ground”. A flat, featureless oblong of patchy grass, sodden in winter, parched in summer, scattered with ring-pulls and dog mess – this was the late 70s – its great featureless expanse broken only by buckled goalposts and a few skinny, uncli...
Tags: Books, Photography, London, Culture, Art and design, Ruskin, Sophia, Grand Union, Clissold Park, Bushy, Art and design books, Wandle, Sophia Spring, David NichollsSee, Trent Peckham Rye, Beckenham Place

John Boyne: ‘People were criticising my book when they hadn’t read it’

John Boyne talks about the online backlash to his recent YA book and how it inspired his new novel about social mediaFrom the table in the garden where we sit chatting, I have a good view of John Boyne’s “ego room” – the light-filled, pale green annexe to which he comes, at 8.30 every morning, seven days a week, to write, and which is filled with global editions of the 21 books he has produced over the last two decades. Both the space and the name he’s given it are instructive, revealing: the ta...
Tags: Books, Fiction, Culture, Ireland, Dublin, Young Adult, John Boyne, Jessica, Boyne

Going places: The international authors to read this summer

Foreign travel may be curtailed, but from Germany’s Mariana Leky to Japan’s Shiori Ito, there is plenty of exciting writing coming to our shores. Meet the writers who are making waves Continue reading...
Tags: Books, Japan, Germany, Fiction, Culture, Fiction in translation, Summer Reading, Shiori Ito, Mariana Leky

‘A madman with millions of followers’: what the new Trump books tell us

Books show how close the US came to disaster, and document an unprecedented moment in US history that is not yet overI Alone Can Fix It: Trump as wannabe FührerThis week, the Guardian reported that what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents describe Donald Trump as an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual”. Vladimir Putin, the documents say, therefore decided to assist Trump’s rise to power in 2016 as a way to weaken America. Related: Frankly, We Did Win This Election r...
Tags: Books, Vladimir Putin, Republicans, US, America, World news, US news, Culture, US politics, Autobiography and memoir, Kremlin, Donald Trump, Trump, Trump Administration, Politics books, Biography books

The lion in the London black cab: the remarkable story of Singh, and the boy who loved him

Gifted as a cub by a Maharajah to a young British boy, Singh lived at a house in Surrey before outgrowing his home and being driven in a black cab to the zoo. Now his story has been made into a book“He was,” London Zoo said, “one of the zoo’s politest pets.”Singh the Lion arrived in a black cab and padded in through the front door, on a lead. Continue reading...
Tags: Books, London, Animals, India, UK News, Australia news, Culture, Surrey, Benito Mussolini, Singh, London Zoo, Mahatma Gandhi

Léa Seydoux: ‘Art is a sexual energy. It’s the highest form of creation’

She has four films at Cannes film festival, but instead of strutting the Riviera red carpet the actor is isolating in Paris. She talks creativity, sex scenes and the joy of Bond stuntsLéa Seydoux is coming to Cannes. She’s starring in four pictures at this year’s film festival and our interview is booked for noon on Saturday, possibly on the beach. The beach is good for weird distractions and local colour. I once interviewed Juliette Binoche on the beach at Cannes while she was accosted by wande...
Tags: Books, Celebrity, Film, Women, Life and style, Culture, Paris, James Bond, Philip Roth, Cannes film festival, Riviera, Cannes, Juliette Binoche, Seydoux, Lea Seydoux, Cannes 2021

I Alone Can Fix It review: Donald Trump as wannabe Führer – in another riveting read

Gen Mark Milley saw that the US was in a ‘Reichstag moment’ – four days before the Capitol riot. With this and much more startling reporting, Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker of the Washington Post deliver the goods once againCocooned at his resorts, the Trump Organization indicted, Donald Trump has come to embrace the insurrection. Related: Trump told chief of staff Hitler ‘did a lot of good things’, book says Continue reading...
Tags: Books, Republicans, Washington Post, US, World news, US news, Culture, US politics, The far right, Hitler, Donald Trump, Trump, Philip Rucker, Trump Organization, Mark Milley, Trump Administration

Self-censorship hits Hong Kong book fair in wake of national security law

Far fewer politically sensitive titles are on display in the first such event since Beijing imposed sweeping new regulations Booksellers at Hong Kong’s annual book fair are offering a reduced selection of books deemed politically sensitive, as they try to avoid violating a sweeping national security law imposed on the city last year.The fair was postponed twice last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. It usually draws hundreds of thousands of people looking for everything from the latest b...
Tags: Hong Kong, Books, Publishing, China, Censorship, World news, Culture, Beijing, Asia Pacific

Drive My Car review – mysterious Murakami tale of erotic and creative secrets

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi reaches a new grandeur with this engrossing adaptation about a theatre director grappling with Chekhov and his wife’s infidelityRyûsuke Hamaguchi’s mysterious and beautiful new film is inspired by Haruki Murakami’s short story of the same name – and that title, like Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, is designed to tease us with the shiny wistfulness of a Beatles lyric. Hamaguchi’s previous pictures Asako I and II and Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy were about the enigma of identity, the ...
Tags: Books, Japan, Film, World news, Culture, Asia Pacific, Film adaptations, Festivals, World cinema, Cannes film festival, Haruki Murakami, Chekhov, Beckett, Murakami, Yusuke, Asako

Top 10 books about the aftermath of empire | Madeleine Bunting

From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to John le Carré, the novelist recommends reading about a vast, anguished legacyAll the courses I chose for my history degree related to empire. The first was a whistle-stop tour, one empire a week, starting with the Portuguese. A later course on decolonisation was so unpopular, the lectures were attended only by Prince Edward, his bodyguards and me. Studying the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya made the deepest impression. It all proved immensely useful background to dra...
Tags: Books, Fiction, Culture, Kenya, John Le Carre, Bahrain, Edward, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Madeleine Bunting, Pankaj Mishra, Middle East Continue, JM Coetzee, Mau Mau, History books, Jane Gardam

Missing school: how art can help girls in Nepal get an education – in pictures

Some of the UK’s best-loved illustrators, including Axel Scheffler, Debi Gliori and Jackie Morris, have created artworks telling the stories of children in rural Nepal who struggle to get an education. The pictures are being raffled by the charity United Word Schools, which has opened schools in the country.All photographs by Navesh Chitrakar for UWS*All girls’ names have been changed Continue reading...
Tags: Books, UK, Children, Society, World news, Culture, South and Central Asia, Nepal, Global development, Global Education, Navesh Chitrakar, Jackie Morris, Axel Scheffler Debi Gliori, United Word Schools

Drunken Giuliani urged Trump to ‘just say we won’ on election night, book says

As key states started to slip away from Trump, Rudy Giuliani repeatedly urged former president to lie, according to new book US politics – live coverageA drunken Rudy Giuliani repeatedly urged Donald Trump to “just say we won” on election night last November, according to a new book, even as key states started to slip away from the president and defeat by Joe Biden drew near. Related: Landslide review: Michael Wolff’s third Trump book is his best – and most alarming Continue reading...
Tags: Books, Republicans, US, World news, Joe Biden, US news, Culture, US politics, Michael Wolff, Giuliani, Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Trump, Trump Administration, Trump Rudy Giuliani, Politics books

€4.55m Marquis de Sade manuscript acquired for French nation

Original scroll of The 120 Days of Sodom, written while the writer was jailed in the Bastille, has been bought as an ‘emblem of artistic freedom’The manuscript of the Marquis de Sade’s infamous erotic tale The 120 Days of Sodom has been acquired by the French government for €4.55m, following a campaign to keep it in the country.Written in 1785 by the aristocrat while he was imprisoned in the Bastille for a series of sexual scandals, the notorious scroll manuscript tells of four libertines, searc...
Tags: Europe, Books, France, World news, Culture, Libraries, Bastille, Marquis de Sade, Sade, Manuscripts and letters, 55m Marquis de Sade

The Witches of the Orient review – very strange but true sports history

Julien Faraut’s documentary recounts how a Japanese women’s volleyball team recruited from factory workers became national heroes in the 60sFollowing the philosophical tennis documentary John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection, Julien Faraut is back with yet another unusual, enigmatic sports film, this time tracing the extraordinary journey of the undefeated Japanese national women’s volleyball team in the 1960s. Assembled from a group of factory workers, these young, initially amateur athletes...
Tags: Books, Japan, Film, Sport, World news, Culture, Asia Pacific, Tokyo, Anime, Comics and graphic novels, Olympic Games, John McEnroe, Manga, Julien Faraut, Documentary films, Faraut

A love from beyond the grave – Kurt Tong on his ‘ghost marriage’ photographs

His latest project, piecing together the story of a bereaved Hong Kong man who wed his dead fiancé, has won an award. The photogapher reveals how it began with the discovery of a trunk of keepsakesAt the centre of Kurt Tong’s elaborate visual narrative Dear Franklin, there is a doomed love story that is also a ghost story. It traces the intertwined lives of Franklin Lung, a man who rose from poor beginnings to become part of Hong Kong’s social elite in the 1940s, and a young woman known only as ...
Tags: Art, Hong Kong, Books, Photography, China, World news, Culture, Asia Pacific, Art and design, Awards and prizes, Colonialism, Franklin, Tong, Kurt Tong, Art and design books, Dear Franklin

Spooked review: exposé of murky world of private spies is a dodgy dossier itself

Barry Meier brings distasteful characters and episodes to light but is happy to leave out that which does not suit his aimsWhen Christopher Steele’s dossier about Donald Trump’s connections to Russia was published by BuzzFeed News, the salacious part got more attention than anything else. Related: Trump told chief of staff Hitler ‘did a lot of good things’, book says Continue reading...
Tags: Books, Russia, World news, US news, Culture, US politics, Espionage, Hitler, Donald Trump, Trump, BuzzFeed News, Barry Meier, Christopher Steele, Trump-Russia investigation

Frankly, We Did Win This Election review: a devastating dispatch from Trumpworld

As well as grabby headlines about Hitler, Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal shows us how millions have been led astrayOn election night in 2016, Donald Trump paid homage to America’s “forgotten men and women”, vowing they would be “forgotten no longer”. Those who repeatedly appeared at his rallies knew of whom he spoke. Veterans, gun enthusiasts, bikers, shop clerks. Middle-aged and seniors. Life had treated some harshly. Others less so. Related: Trump told chief of staff Hitler ‘did a...
Tags: Books, Republicans, America, World news, US news, Culture, US politics, Hitler, Donald Trump, Wall Street Journal, Trump, Trump Administration, Trumpworld, Politics books, US elections 2020, US Capitol Attack

China is far from alone in taking advantage of Australian universities’ self-inflicted wounds | David Brophy

Having long encouraged universities to find funding elsewhere, politicians now home in on their ties to China to argue that they’ve lost their wayOutside the political sphere, much of Australia’s China panic centres on university campuses. This is hardly surprising, given the deep connections of the Australian higher-­education sector to China.In 2019, before the Covid-­19 pandemic hit, higher education brought in some A$12bn in export revenue, most of it from China. With more than 150,000 Chine...
Tags: Books, Australia, China, Australia news, Culture, Asia Pacific, Foreign Policy, Australian politics, Australian education, Australian Universities, MoUs, David Brophy, Confucius Institutes, Australian books, Australian foreign policy

Why is ‘Cat Person’ going viral again?

The literary sensation from 2017 is trending again. But this time it’s because of a real-life storyHelen, I am seeing that awful close-up picture of mouths kissing on my timeline again and hesitate to ask, but why?The short story Cat Person is in the news once more, because a woman named Alexis Nowicki has written an essay for Slate in which she explains that she is the real-life cat person the Cat Person story is based on, and that her ex-boyfriend is the other cat person in the story, and that...
Tags: Books, Media, Fiction, Culture, Alexis Nowicki

Hungary fines bookshop chain over picture book depicting LGBT families

Líra Könyv made to pay £600 for failing to clearly indicate the story featured ‘a family that is different than a normal family’A bookshop chain in Hungary has been fined for selling a children’s story depicting a day in the life of a child with same-sex parents, with officials condemning the picture book for featuring such families.The picture book, Micsoda család!, is a Hungarian translation combining two titles by US author Lawrence Schimel and illustrator Elīna Brasliņa: Early One Morning, w...
Tags: Europe, Books, Publishing, US, World news, Culture, Hungary, LGBT rights, Children and teenagers, Picture books, Lawrence Schimel, Líra Könyv, Elīna Brasliņa

Martin Eden review – Jack London’s thrilling tale of hollow success

This Italian adaptation of London’s 1909 novel follows the ascent of a proletarian novelist to popular success which proves a bitter disappointmentThe terrible loneliness of success is the subject of this absorbing movie, equal in some strange way to the loneliness of failure; it’s also about the secret and shameful feeling that failure is the one truthful state of being, which the successful person has had to renounce. Martin Eden is also about capitalism and enterprise and the great 20th-centu...
Tags: Europe, Books, London, Film, California, World news, Culture, Italy, Film adaptations, World cinema, Naples, Martin, Jack London, Marcello, Lucio, Martin Eden

Everything Went Fine review – wonderfully observed story of assisted dying

André Dussollier and Sophie Marceau are outstanding as a father and daughter whose tricky relationship is upended when he asks for her help to dieFrançois Ozon has brought a tremendous understated confidence and artistry to this very affecting film about euthanasia and assisted dying. There is a robust unsentimentality here, encapsulated by the throwaway gesture in the title itself, leaving is to decide what it exactly it is in the end which has gone “well”. And the final shot of a dead person, ...
Tags: Europe, Books, Law, Film, France, Society, World news, Culture, Film adaptations, World cinema, Assisted dying, Charlotte Rampling, Francois Ozon, Ozon, Andre, Emmanuelle

Between Two Worlds review – Juliette Binoche goes undercover in the gig economy

Emmanuel Carrère’s drama – based on Florence Aubenas’s bestseller Le Quai de Ouistreham – fails to probe fully the injustices faced by low-paid workersNovelist and film-maker Emmanuel Carrère has contrived this earnestly intentioned but naive and supercilious drama about poverty and the gig economy, starring a tearful Juliette Binoche. It is adapted from the French non-fiction bestseller Le Quai de Ouistreham from 2010 by investigative journalist Florence Aubenas, published in the UK under the t...
Tags: Europe, Books, UK, London, Film, France, World news, Work & careers, Culture, George Orwell, Paris, Film adaptations, Festivals, World cinema, Portsmouth, Cannes film festival

‘A cultural masterpiece’: the world’s best new public libraries – in pictures

On Monday, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) announced the five finalists for the annual Public Library of the Year award, which honours newly built public libraries. Libraries are assessed according to how they combine functional architecture, information technology, and local culture. This year’s shortlisted institutions include libraries in Australia, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands and China Continue reading...
Tags: Books, Design, Australia news, Culture, Architecture, Art and design, Netherlands, Libraries, Sydney, China Continue, Australia Belgium Norway

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