GoCom Canada Inc

Books - Lifestyle



Books

9 hours ago
His rich baritone has been called the voice of choice for more than 1,300 pieces of literature, including “Crime and Punishment,” “The Corrections” and plenty of Stephen King.
1 day 10 hours ago
In “Wild Things,” Bruce Handy curates passages from his favorite books for kids, allowing readers both literary pleasure and a kind of time travel.
22 hours ago
The author of the six-volume autobiographical novel “My Struggle” and, most recently, “Autumn” steers clear of crime fiction: “I only read crime novels when I’m depressed, so I try to avoid them.”
1 day 10 hours ago
Danzy Senna’s new novel follows a woman’s love triangle (of sorts) with two men.
22 hours ago
Kinsey Millhone makes one of her last crime column appearances. Elsewhere, we meet rough limo drivers, inept Laotian athletes and a wry L.A. coroner.
2 days 14 hours ago
“Freud,” a critical biography by Frederick Crews, asks why the creator of a scientifically delegitimized blueprint of the mind still carries so much sway.
6 days 15 hours ago
Judith Newman discusses a recent crop of books about parenting, and Bill Goldstein talks about “The World Broke in Two.”
11 hours ago
Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times.
10 hours ago
Many celebrities are in on the audiobook business. Here, readings from more than 20 of them.
16 hours ago
Two books offer readers insight into the Orwellian society, and another discusses policy solutions.
21 hours ago
Liu Yongbiao, author of “The Guilty Secret,” had planned a novel about a writer who got away with a series of killings.
17 hours ago
The Giants’ linebacker Devon Kennard has created a vibrant book club on Instagram, drawing fans and fellow readers.
22 hours ago
The pioneering programmer discusses her career and the dangers the internet poses to culture, privacy and civility in “Life in Code.”
1 day 10 hours ago
Jillian Tamaki revisits “The Sky Is Falling,” the children’s classic about British children evacuated to Canada during World War II.
1 day 22 hours ago
Laurent Binet’s “The Seventh Function of Language” turns the story of the death of Roland Barthes into a romp through the days when literary theory reigned.
1 day 22 hours ago
Judith Newman’s “To Siri With Love,” about life with an autistic son, is both riotous and moving.
2 days 12 hours ago
The Litchfield, Conn., home where Stowe grew up has been listed on eBay for $400,000.
2 days 22 hours ago
In “Democracy in Chains,” Nancy MacLean digs into the work of the economist James McGill Buchanan, who paved the way for our current political moment.
2 days 22 hours ago
Lucy Ives’s “Impossible Views of the World” is a fictional work about a disappearance in the art community.
2 days 22 hours ago
In his slim polemic “The Once and Future Liberal,” Mark Lilla urges the left to overcome its differences.
1 day 13 hours ago
Writers like August Wilson, John Edgar Wideman and Michael Chabon have used the city as a backdrop for their stories.
3 days 1 hour ago
A reader desires romance — dazzling, literary, unsettled by time. Our columnist responds with titles by John Fowles, Italo Calvino, A. S. Byatt and others.
2 days 12 hours ago
In light of the deadly violence during a white supremacist rally in Virginia this weekend, here are books to help you discuss racism and anti-Semitism at home.
2 days 10 hours ago
In her epistolary memoir, “The Book of Emma Reyes,” the Colombian painter recounts her childhood in Bogotá, made vivid by the horrors of the workhouse.
3 days 22 hours ago
In “Wrestling With His Angel,” the second volume of his biography of Abraham Lincoln, Sidney Blumenthal tells of Lincoln’s circuitous journey to Republican embrace.
140 days 21 hours ago
In the 12th book in the best-selling kids' series, Greg Heffley and family go on holiday.
      
 
 

In the 12th book in the best-selling kids' series, Greg Heffley and family go on holiday.

      
 
 
141 days 11 hours ago
The thriller 'Mississippi Blood' takes on murder and racism in the Deep South.
      
 
 

The thriller 'Mississippi Blood' takes on murder and racism in the Deep South.

      
 
 
142 days 19 hours ago
Jessica Shattuck's novel finds a fresh angle on post-war angst in Germany.
      
 
 

Jessica Shattuck's novel finds a fresh angle on post-war angst in Germany.

      
 
 
138 days 14 hours ago
Spend your weekend reading 'The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.'
      
 
 

Spend your weekend reading 'The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.'

      
 
 
139 days 12 hours ago
A survey once again ranks how the USA is doing when it comes to reading.
      
 
 

A survey once again ranks how the USA is doing when it comes to reading.

      
 
 
139 days 15 hours ago
The 19th-century American poet has a new book out. You won't believe what it's about.
      
 
 

The 19th-century American poet has a new book out. You won't believe what it's about.

      
 
 
143 days 15 hours ago
Biographer John A. Farrell offers an even-handed approach in 'Richard Nixon: The Life.'
      
 
 

Biographer John A. Farrell offers an even-handed approach in 'Richard Nixon: The Life.'

      
 
 
139 days 19 hours ago
Recommended reading before you head to a theater near you.
      
 
 

Recommended reading before you head to a theater near you.

      
 
 
140 days 13 hours ago
Book is being turned into drama series for HBO and Italy's public broadcasting company.
      
 
 

Book is being turned into drama series for HBO and Italy's public broadcasting company.

      
 
 
144 days 21 hours ago
Look for a major new biography of Richard Nixon, plus the latest James Patterson.
      
 
 

Look for a major new biography of Richard Nixon, plus the latest James Patterson.

      
 
 
143 days 11 hours ago
Author Ron Powers has experience dealing with mental illness in his own family.
      
 
 

Author Ron Powers has experience dealing with mental illness in his own family.

      
 
 
149 days 19 hours ago
'The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane' is about how tea changes a young Chinese woman's life.
      
 
 

'The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane' is about how tea changes a young Chinese woman's life.

      
 
 
152 days 19 hours ago
A genre made popular by 'Twilight' and 'The Hunger Games' is as strong as ever.
      
 
 

A genre made popular by 'Twilight' and 'The Hunger Games' is as strong as ever.

      
 
 
150 days 13 hours ago
Ray Connolly's biography focuses on the limiting life of rock 'n' roll's first superstar.
      
 
 

Ray Connolly's biography focuses on the limiting life of rock 'n' roll's first superstar.

      
 
 
155 days 16 hours ago
Pam Jenoff's novel about a train full of abandoned babies is a USA TODAY best seller.
      
 
 

Pam Jenoff's novel about a train full of abandoned babies is a USA TODAY best seller.

      
 
 
161 days 21 hours ago
The young British woman hits American shores in Book 3.
      
 
 

The young British woman hits American shores in Book 3.

      
 
 
148 days 15 hours ago
The faith-based best seller continues its reign at No. 1
      
 
 

The faith-based best seller continues its reign at No. 1

      
 
 
149 days 15 hours ago
The dancer shares her tips for getting in shape and eating well in her new book.
      
 
 

The dancer shares her tips for getting in shape and eating well in her new book.

      
 
 
155 days 10 hours ago
Missed the live chat with Anderson and Nadel? Revisit it here.
      
 
 

Missed the live chat with Anderson and Nadel? Revisit it here.

      
 
 
157 days 15 hours ago
Christopher Knight retreated from the world. Michael Finkel tells his story.
      
 
 

Christopher Knight retreated from the world. Michael Finkel tells his story.

      
 
 
148 days 10 hours ago
In 'The Fall of Lisa Bellow,' two girls are held hostage by a gunman.
      
 
 

In 'The Fall of Lisa Bellow,' two girls are held hostage by a gunman.

      
 
 
157 days 12 hours ago
The Boy Scouts take center stage in Nickolas Butler's smart novel.
      
 
 

The Boy Scouts take center stage in Nickolas Butler's smart novel.

      
 
 
161 days 8 hours ago
Mark Halperin and John Heilemann will report on Donald Trump's win over Hillary Clinton.
      
 
 

Mark Halperin and John Heilemann will report on Donald Trump's win over Hillary Clinton.

      
 
 
159 days 10 hours ago
'Shoot Like a Girl' is the story of helicopter pilot who served in Afghanistan.
      
 
 

'Shoot Like a Girl' is the story of helicopter pilot who served in Afghanistan.

      
 
 
158 days 13 hours ago
'The Confessions of Young Nero' is a revisionist history of the reviled leader.
      
 
 

'The Confessions of Young Nero' is a revisionist history of the reviled leader.

      
 
 
18 minutes ago18 minutes ago

What’s the difference between a Nazi and a white supremacist, antifa and alt-left? Steven Poole deconstructs the new political discourse

The left-right spectrum of political speech is getting increasingly crowded. The rise of Donald Trump has popularised the term “alt-right”, which sounds more indie and cool than “far right”. Meanwhile, those on the alt-right have recently begun to describe their opponents as the “alt-left” – a coinage that, asymmetrically, seems to be an attempt to rhetorically downgrade them to a fringe group of eccentrics, rather than a broad coalition of people who don’t like racism much. “What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’?” Trump asked, Solomonically, after the clashes in Charlottesville. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?”

Some of the people who actually protest against alt-right protesters in the US are from a group called “Antifa”, short for anti-fascist. Their opponents happily adopt the term, aiming to paint any and all anti-racist liberals as a small militant conspiracy, but their acquiescence in such language seems a bit peculiar when you think about it. American shock-babbler Ann Coulter, for example, tweeted that she hoped Trump would denounce “the violent left-wing Antifa that shut down my Berkeley speech!” If Coulter agrees to call her opponents “Antifa”, does it logically follow that she is happy to identify as a fascist?

Continue reading...
1 minute ago1 minute ago

An encounter with a murderer, a plummeting plane and severe illness are among the episodes detailed in this elegant, thought-provoking memoir

We are all, in one way or another, just moments from death. Catastrophe lurks wherever we care to look. Most of us tend not to dwell on our mortality since that way madness lies, but many have stood on the precipice, often several times over, and stared it squarely in the face.

The writer Maggie O’Farrell has chronicled 17 of her own near misses in I Am, I Am, I Am (the title is taken from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar). These include a haemorrhage during childbirth, miscarriage, childhood encephalitis, amoebic dysentery and an ill-advised leap off a harbour wall into the sea as a teen. Written in self-contained essays, the events recalled here are blips, coincidences, flashes of folly or plain bad luck. Some are startling but later shrugged off; others are lingering and life-changing.

Continue reading...
48 minutes ago48 minutes ago
Moving from New York to Tel Aviv, Krauss’s first novel in seven years is a fascinating meditation on fiction itself

In his magnificent prose poem “The Blue House”, Tomas Tranströmer wrote of a man contemplating his house – and his life – from the vantage point of the nearby woods: “I am grateful for this life! And yet I miss the alternatives. All sketches wish to be real.” There is the life you live, in other words, and then there are the sketches of the lives that might have been yours, if you’d gone to a different school, married a different person, emigrated instead of staying or vice versa. But perhaps, Tranströmer suggested, these lives too are unfolding somewhere: “We do not actually know it, but we sense it: our life has a sister vessel which plies an entirely different route.”

This is one of the many ideas animating Nicole Krauss’s brilliant new novel, Forest Dark. It has two narrative threads, occupying alternate chapters, both concerning characters who have found themselves adrift. One centres on a New York philanthropist named Jules Epstein, who has recently disappeared in Israel. The other is narrated by an American novelist named Nicole, for whom this idea of Tranströmer’s has recently become pressing. On returning home one afternoon, she steps into the house and realises that she’s already there. “Simply that: already there. Moving through the rooms upstairs, or asleep in the bed; it hardly mattered what I was doing, what mattered was the certainty with which I knew that I was in the house already.” A ringing telephone breaks the spell, and the sense of doubleness passes.

Continue reading...
2 hours ago2 hours ago

A brief jaunt for a sweet treat in one of Christie’s detective mysteries sparks inspiration in the mind and kitchen of Kate Young

  • Scroll down for the recipe

As Josephine looked mutinous, Edith added: ‘We’ll go into Longbridge and have an ice cream soda.’

Josephine’s eyes brightened and she said: ‘Two.’

Crooked House, Agatha Christie

Continue reading...
8 hours ago8 hours ago

Letters from poet WB Yeats to his first love, and artwork by his brother, sisters and father will be auctioned at Sotheby’s

A treasure trove of Yeats family material, including hundreds of passionate, rueful and philosophical letters from the poet William Butler to the first of his many loves, and the desk at which he wrote them, will go on public display for the first time in Dublin and London in September, before being sold in a Sotheby’s auction in London.

The sale will include books, paintings, furniture and personal possessions relating to all the members of the extraordinarily artistic family, whose lives and work were also woven into the history of 20th century Ireland. The material includes not just the letters from the Nobel laureate poet WB Yeats but also his hair brushes, many works by his painter brother Jack B Yeats, an important group by their artist father, John B Yeats, including family portraits and his last self-portrait, and original artworks and embroidery designs for the Cuala Press founded by the poet’s sisters, Lolly and Lily, using skills they had learned at the Kelmscott Press founded by William Morris and from his textile artist daughter, May.

Continue reading...
16 hours ago16 hours ago

A century after Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen began an inspiring friendship, we’re testing you on book pals, from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett to Harper Lee and Truman Capote

Biographers agree that Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon first met between 15 and 19 August 1917. Their friendship would lead to Owen writing two of his most enduring poems, Dulce et Decorum Est and Anthem For Doomed Youth. But where did they meet?

At Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh

At Dover, as they prepared for duty

In the trenches in France

In London at a literary party

Which two authors referred to each other in letters as "Cherest Maitre" and "Princesse Rapprochee"?

Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth

Susan Sontag and Norman Mailer

Enid Blyton and CS Lewis

Henry James and Edith Wharton

Where did the writers Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman first meet – a literary friendship which would result in the jointly authored fantasy novel, Good Omens?

In a Chinese restaurant, where Gaiman was interviewing Pratchett

In a Chinese restaurant, where Pratchett was interviewing Gaiman

In Lower Tadfield, Oxfordshire

In prison

Who hid behind the curtains in her friend Elizabeth Gaskell’s house because she didn’t want to meet other visitors?

Charlotte Bronte

Anne Bronte

Emily Bronte

George Eliot

Name the novelist who was a great friend of DH Lawrence, even making her way into his novels?

Virginia Woolf

Katherine Mansfield

E Nesbit

Jean Rhys

“A smooth, pale, fluent little chap … No harm in him: only needs a smack or two.” Which enduring literary friendship was marked by this less-than-glowing initial encounter?

CS Lewis on JRR Tolkien

Shelley on Keats

Harper Lee on Truman Capote

Herman Melville on Nathanial Hawthorne

“You knew, didn't you, how I needed your language and the mind that formed it? How I relied on your fierce courage to tame wildernesses for me? How strengthened I was by the certainty that came from knowing you would never hurt me? You knew, didn't you, how I loved your love? You knew. This then is no calamity. No. This is jubilee.” Who is Toni Morrison writing about?

Alice Walker

Saul Bellow

James Baldwin

Chinua Achebe

Who was the poetic friend whose habit of regretting whichever path they took inspired Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken?

TS Eliot

Edward Thomas

Wallace Stevens

Ezra Pound

“Tightly-folded bud, / I have wished you something / None of the others would…” Which author friend did Philip Larkin write this poem for, following the birth of his sister?

Ted Hughes

Ian McEwan

Christopher Hitchens

Martin Amis

Which character in To Kill A Mockingbird did Harper Lee base on her childhood friend, Truman Capote?

Scout

Atticus

Dill

Jem

Continue reading...
20 hours ago20 hours ago

Charity seeks to build on lottery pledge to secure a lasting future for museum in home where writer completed his epic poem on the fall of man

Pointing to Wordsworth’s comment more than 200 years ago that “Milton! Thou shouldst be living at this hour. / England hath need of thee”, a charity has launched an “urgent” appeal to the public to help it preserve the 16th-century Buckinghamshire cottage where John Milton completed Paradise Lost, 350 years ago.

The radical poet lived in the Chalfont St Giles cottage after he fled London during the 1665 plague. Although he remained there for less than two years, it was where he completed his masterpiece, Paradise Lost. The cottage is the only surviving residence of the poet and is open to the public as a museum. It holds a leading collection of first editions, as well as a lock of the poet’s hair, and an original proclamation from King Charles II, banning his books. According to the charity, it is the second-oldest writer’s home museum in the world after Shakespeare’s birthplace. Without a much-needed injection of cash, however, the museum risks closure.

Continue reading...
1 day 1 hour ago1 day 1 hour ago

Catapulted from anonymity to literary stardom, the 29-year-old from York talks about her sylvan debut novel, Elmet, and how it was fuelled by her anger at inequality

Fiona Mozley was sitting in a cafe when she heard the news. She had been out walking her dog by the river, and had stopped for a coffee on the way home, when she got a call from her editor.

“I thought she’d managed to secure a good quote for the front cover,” says Mozley. “It was obviously good news. I could tell from the tone of her voice.” The rest is a bit of a blur, with her dog, Stringer, barking and jumping around as he caught on to her gradually increasing excitement. By the time she put down the phone, Mozley was reeling from the discovery she had been longlisted for the Man Booker prize with a book that wasn’t even due to be published until September.

Continue reading...
20 hours ago20 hours ago
Contemporary India provides a fascinating backdrop for a reworking of Shakespeare’s tragedy

Thanks to publishing’s conservatism, fiction set in modern India can too easily be pigeonholed: post-colonial, Raj-nostalgic, focused on slum dwellers or a globetrotting elite. We That Are Young, the doorstop debut novel from Preti Taneja, a Cambridge academic and human rights activist, ignores and subverts these stereotypes by turns.

A recasting of King Lear in today’s Delhi, the family at its centre consists of ageing patriarch Devraj, head of the multi-tentacled India Company, his daughters Gargi, Radha and Sita, right-hand man Ranjit and his son Jeet. They aren’t simply an elite; they’re practically royalty, with the Company (insistent on its capital letter) standing in for the country in more than just name, its operations covering every aspect of modern Indian life from traditional woven fabrics to coffee chains and luxury hotels. The book opens aboard a BA flight above London, with Ranjit’s illegitimate son Jivan not arriving but departing, turning his back on a somewhat passé “west” and a white girlfriend whom he derides for her attempts to “try on” his culture.

Continue reading...
23 hours ago23 hours ago
An astute biography casts a new light on famous paintings and underlines the importance of the artist’s risque private life

Thomas Gainsborough’s early masterpiece, Mr and Mrs Andrews (c1750), has long been read as a celebration of that pivotal moment in mid-Georgian Britain when man managed to wrestle nature to its knees and tell it what to do. To one side of the painting are the recently married Robert and Frances Andrews, a lucky young couple handsomely dressed in a rustle of linen, satin and soft leather. Significantly, though, the pair are posing not in the library or hall of their manor house but out in the grounds, in the well-worked, wheat-covered bit of Suffolk’s loamy Stour valley that provides the capital on which their combined fortune depends. In the far distance you can just make out the tower of All Saints’ Church where this alliance between two local landowning families – one gentry, one trade – has recently been settled to everyone’s satisfaction.

Gainsborough painted the happy couple, not to mention their happy acres, with such a zesty freshness that it’s a shock to learn that, until the picture was bought by the National Gallery in 1960, Mr and Mrs Andrews was kept hidden away by the family, like some mad aunt in the attic. James Hamilton, the author of this richly humane biography of the artist, thinks he knows why. Hamilton suggests that, far from being a servile recorder of other people’s good fortune, young Tom Gainsborough was never afraid to blurt out inconvenient truths, much in the manner of his great hero William Hogarth. Why else would he have introduced into his lyrical landscape a pair of plebeian donkeys, corralled in an enclosure? Hamilton believes this is a deliberate jibe about the matrimonial trap into which Robert Andrews, who was an old schoolmate from Sudbury Grammar, has blundered. Then there’s the billowy way in which Andrews’s gunpowder bag and gun have been rendered to make them look like a set of swollen genitalia, waiting to seed the fertile ground. Oddest of all, though, a space on Mrs Andrews’s lap has been left blank, with only the canvas peeping through. Art historians have long argued about whether Gainsborough was reserving room for a baby, a lapdog or a dead pheasant. But for Hamilton, who is as astute a reader of Gainsborough’s smuttiness as he is of his blazing talent, what matters is the faint scratch of a design that you can just make out in the empty space: “Frances Andrews has a drawing of a penis on her skirt.”

Continue reading...
1 day 1 hour ago1 day 1 hour ago

Do web porn clicks deliver data that ‘Freud and Foucault would have drooled over’, or are we not as weird as our online behaviour suggests?

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz wanted to call his new book How Big Is My Penis?, but his publishers demurred. He settled for Everybody Lies. The book is subtitled What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are and it’s a polished display of some of the early fruits of “big data” science. Its principal defect, perhaps, is that it doesn’t say enough about how many of these fruits are rotten.

Stephens-Davidowitz’s first source, when he set up as a data scientist, was Google Trends, which records the relative frequency of particular searches in different places at different times. He soon added Google Adwords, which registers the actual number of searches. Then he moved on to other vastnesses: Wikipedia, Facebook and then PornHub, one of the largest pornographic sites in the world. PornHub gave him its complete data set, duly anonymised: every single search and video view. He also “scraped” many other sites, including neo-Nazi sites such as Stormfront, which account for the internet’s resemblance to the box jellyfish, a highly poisonous predator with 60 anuses.

Continue reading...
1 day 19 hours ago1 day 19 hours ago

Court dramas, classic mysteries and bloody crimes ... from Du Maurier to Lehane, Sophie Hannah chooses her favourite twists in novels (or does she?)

  • There are no spoilers in this article, but we can’t guarantee the comments

The word “twist” exerts a strange power over crime fiction addicts like me. Publishers know this all too well, which is why the promise of a twist is often used to advertise books that don’t have twists at all. “You’ll never see the breathtaking twist coming!” screams the press release. Well, no, you won’t, because it doesn’t exist. And so many people think a brilliant resolution is the same thing as a twist. It isn’t. Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express offers the most impressive puzzle solution in all of detective fiction. But, however ingenious and surprising, it’s not a twist ending.

So what is a bona fide twist? In my view, it has to be something that overturns or negates an already drawn conclusion or a firmly entrenched and reasonable assumption (Orient Express overturns an unreasonable assumption on the part of the reader, which is why I wouldn’t call it a twist).

Continue reading...
1 day 17 hours ago1 day 17 hours ago

Author VE Schwab ‘devastated’ after discovering a storyline was cut without her permission in Russia, where LGBT books are regularly shrinkwrapped

VE Schwab’s Shades of Magic series follows the story of the magician Kell, a “traveller” with the ability to move between four parallel versions of London. Acclaimed and bestselling – in the Guardian it was called “a compelling, swashbuckling read” – the fantasy trilogy features a diverse array of characters, from the gender-fluid pickpocket Lila to the bisexual prince Rhy. However, Schwab was horrified to learn last week that her books aren’t quite so diverse in Russian translations, where her publisher excised a scene about the romantic relationship between two male characters.

“The Russian edition of Shades of Magic has been my favourite. This week I learned that they redacted the entire queer plot w/out permission,” she wrote on Twitter to her more than 50,000 followers, describing herself as “positively devastated”.

Continue reading...
2 days 2 hours ago2 days 2 hours ago

What we read is now defined by the market, as the views of Booker prize judges carry more weight than the need for originality and innovation

There are at least two reasons why almost every anglophone novelist feels compelled to get as near the Booker prize as they can. The first is because it looms over them and follows them around in the way Guy de Maupassant said the Eiffel Tower follows you everywhere when you’re in Paris. “To escape the Eiffel Tower,” Maupassant suggested, “you have to go inside it.” Similarly, the main reason for a novelist wanting to win the Booker prize is to no longer be under any obligation to win it, and to be able to get on with their job: writing, and thinking about writing.

Today, there’s little intellectual or material investment in writers: prizes and shortlists are meant to sell books

Continue reading...
1 day 17 hours ago1 day 17 hours ago
A moneyed interloper muscles in on a small Massachusetts town in an allegory of US politics that confounds expectations

The town of Howland sits amid the wooded hills of south-western Massachusetts. To reach it from Manhattan, one must first ride the commuter train north to the end of the line, shedding passengers at every stop, and then drive east on Route 23. In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the town feels reassuringly remote, 120 miles from the horror of ground zero. For Mark Firth – who was stranded in the city when the planes hit the towers – Howland is undeniably home. For billionaire Philip Hadi, it is something else: virgin territory, a new-found land. He arrives in the place like some millennial pilgrim father, scouting the woodland, keen to make nice with the natives.

Jonathan Dee’s mercurial seventh novel installs Hadi as the archetypal stranger come to town. The hedge-fund mogul acts as a catalyst for the community and a symptom, perhaps, of tensions in the land at large. Claiming to possess insider information about future terrorist attacks, he hires Mark to improve the security measures at his country house. Then he puts himself forward as Howland’s first selectman (the New England equivalent of mayor). Hadi is happy to forego the paltry $24,000 salary. He only wants to help; he now sees Howland as his home. Before long he’s writing personal cheques to prop up failing businesses and reducing the property tax rate to a record low. He also orders a pair of CCTV cameras to be placed at either end of Main Street.

Continue reading...
2 days 1 hour ago2 days 1 hour ago
Migrants not only from the empire but from Latvia, Malta and especially Ireland changed the face of the UK after the second world war

Going home can be disconcerting. Over the last few years, when-ever I have returned from New York, where I live, to Gloucester, where I grew up, what has struck me most – more than the rundown state of the local library, the decamping of the local newspaper to posher Cheltenham, the ailing, asthmatic feel of the town centre – are its ethnic transformations. Neighbourhoods that in the 1970s and 80s seemed like havens of timeless Englishness augmented by a few Asian convenience stores and smoky cafes vibrating to militant reggae are now full of Romanian grocers and Polish bakers. The shaven-headed guy trying to cadge a fag from me does so with a Spanish accent. A Commonwealth city has morphed into a European city.

Related: West Indians arrive in Britain on board the Windrush – archive, 23 June 1948

Continue reading...
1 day 23 hours ago1 day 23 hours ago
A compassionate and piercing look at the communities ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011

Because of its harsh climate and remoteness from the centre, Tohoku, Japan’s north-eastern region, has long been regarded as the country’s backwater. Along with that reputation comes a set of unflattering stereotypes about its people – that they are taciturn, stubborn, somewhat enigmatic. Rather than speaking their minds, they grit their teeth, bottle up their feelings and go about their business in gloomy silence. But those very traits were seen as an admirable asset in the immediate aftermath of the 11 March 2011 disaster that hit Tohoku’s coastal communities, when a magnitude-9 earthquake was followed by a tsunami, then a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.

Journalists reporting from the disaster zone commended the resilience of Tohoku people, marvelling at the restraint demonstrated by survivors, many of whom had lost everything. Uncomplaining, they organised themselves at makeshift evacuation centres, queued to receive rationed food and took care of the weak and wounded. Observers were made to feel that Tohoku was coping.

Continue reading...
2 days 15 hours ago2 days 15 hours ago

Michael Chabon was heralded as a bright new voice in fiction in the late 1980s for his precocious debut. Does it still live up to the hype?

The economics of publishing have always been baffling, but never more so than in the late 1980s, when unknown writers frequently found themselves the recipients of stonking great advances. There are all sorts of reasons, most of twhich boil down to a heady combination of madness and hubris. But one explanation makes sense: huge advances got people talking. Spending $100,000 on an author was still cheaper than paying an equivalent amount for marketing, with the bonus of making people desperate to know what all the fuss was about.

Related: Fiction to look out for in 2017

Continue reading...
2 days 16 hours ago2 days 16 hours ago

The media has falsely accused me of removing the erotic novel from a reading list – but it’s just an attempt to portray today’s students as sensitive snowflakes

I never thought that I would make it into Vogue, but on Monday I did. “Eyebrows were raised when the first erotic novel in the English language, Fanny Hill, was dropped from a 18th-century literature course ‘for fear of offending students’,” the magazine’s website proclaimed. In a chain of news-as-gossip – recognisable both from our internet age and the 18th-century coffee houses beloved of Fanny Hill’s readers – a comment I had made on the radio had been twisted into headlines. “Erotic novel first banned 270 years ago for describing a young girl’s sexual exploits is censored AGAIN – in case it upsets students” crowed the Mail on Sunday, as did a follow-up in the Times.

This was all prompted by a remark I made on the Radio 4 series The Invention of Free Speech; in it, I said: “In the 1980s I both protested against the opening of a sex shop in Cambridge and taught Fanny Hill. Nowadays I would be worried about causing offence to my students.” I didn’t, as I was accused in the papers, remove Fanny Hill from the university course reading list for The Age of Oppositions, 1660-1780 “following a consultation with students” as the Times reported. It was never on the course, therefore it could not have been withdrawn (or “banned”, as the Evening Standard put it).

Continue reading...
2 days 16 hours ago2 days 16 hours ago

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud and Acast. Join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

On this week’s show, we’re exploring love. When photographer Bill Hayes moved to New York in 2009, he wasn’t expecting to find love – but to his surprise, he found himself falling both for the city and for the neurologist Oliver Sacks, who died in 2015. Hayes explores both these passions in a collection of photographs and written vignettes, Insomniac City and spoke to Sian about his life with the famous and eccentric Sacks.

Continue reading...
5 hours ago5 hours ago

One Would Think the Deep triumphs in category for older readers, with Go Home, Cheeky Animals! winning early childhood prize in CBCA prizes

Stories about grief, animals and hiking through the Grampians have taken out the top gongs in this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia book of the year awards.

Continue reading...
2 days 17 hours ago2 days 17 hours ago

The ex-deputy prime minister’s ‘resistance handbook’, out in October, explains how the EU referendum decision can be reversed while reuniting the UK – and seems destined to fill many remoaners’ Christmas stockings

Alongside tips on household management from Mary Berry and help with home cooking from Nigella Lawson, a different kind of guide is also due to land on bookshop shelves this Christmas: How to Stop Brexit, by the former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

Publisher the Bodley Head has announced that Clegg’s manual about remaining in the EU would be published on 5 October. How to Stop Brexit (And Make Britain Great Again) will, said the publisher, see the former leader of the Liberal Democrats show that there is “nothing remotely inevitable” about Brexit – and lay out how readers can help to stop it.

Continue reading...
2 days 19 hours ago2 days 19 hours ago

Terry Pratchett would be ‘over the moon’ at the casting according to his estate, while co-author Neil Gaiman reminds Hollywood to give both equal credit

The late Terry Pratchett would have been “over the moon” at the “dream” casting of David Tennant as the demon Crowley in the forthcoming adaptation of Good Omens, according to the Discworld author’s long-time assistant Rob Wilkins.

Amazon confirmed that Michael Sheen will play the angel Aziraphale, and Tennant will take on the role of Crowley, in Amazon Studios’ six-episode adaptation next year. Co-authored by Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, the 1990 fantasy bestseller Good Omens tells of Crowley and Aziraphale’s attempts to prevent the apocalypse, following the birth of the antichrist, Adam, in Lower Tadfield, Oxfordshire.

Continue reading...
3 days 12 hours ago3 days 12 hours ago

The Irish novelist’s ‘astonishing’ novel about the sexual awakening of a teenager with an older actor lands the UK’s oldest literary award

Eimear McBride, who won the Baileys prize in 2014 for a first novel which had struggled to find a publisher, has taken Britain’s oldest literary award, the James Tait Black prize, for her second, The Lesser Bohemians.

Won by names from EM Forster to DH Lawrence, the James Tait Black prizes for fiction and biography have a history that stretches back to 1919. More than 400 titles were submitted for this year’s prizes, with a shortlist chosen by University of Edinburgh academics and postgraduate students.

Continue reading...
6 days 11 hours ago6 days 11 hours ago

The Obelisk is headline winner in a year marked by diminished presence of conservative Sad Puppy lobby and strong showing from women

A year after NK Jemisin became the first black person to win the Hugo award for best novel, the African American author has landed the prestigious science fiction prize for the second year running.

Jemisin was announced as the winner of the best novel Hugo at Worldcon in Helsinki on Friday. She took the prize, which is voted for by fans, for The Obelisk Gate, the follow-up to her Hugo award-winning novel The Fifth Season. The series is set in a world that is constantly threatened by seismic activity, and where the mutants who can control the environment are oppressed by humans. The New York Times called Jemisin’s writing in the series “intricate and extraordinary”.

Continue reading...
7 hours ago

“Case #10-5411 Veterans Administration” from Christian Faith Publishing author Carol Mulhern details corruption within the VA based on the author’s personal experiences. Through her work at the...

(PRWeb August 18, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/08/prweb14584470.htm

7 hours ago

“Steve the Snake” from Christian Faith Publishing author Harold Flash Haskins Jr. is a moral-based short story about a snake who is selfish and mean to others. Because of the snake's poor choices,...

(PRWeb August 18, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/08/prweb14584525.htm

7 hours ago

“Prompted By Love” from Christian Faith Publishing author Mary Nettles is the story of Max Ellis and the love of his life, Jen. Max had planned to propose, but Jen’s revelations threaten everything.

(PRWeb August 18, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/08/prweb14584559.htm

7 hours ago

“Kingdom Mandate for Kingdom Builders” from Christian Faith Publishing author John F. McGeorge, Jr. reveals the Kingdom of Jesus Christ to the faithful. “Kingdom Mandate for Kingdom Builders” shows...

(PRWeb August 18, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/08/prweb14584580.htm

7 hours ago

Recent release “Coffee and Cupid” from Page Publishing author Elizabeth Pulliam is both telling and emotional; this story follows the 70-year-long love story of Drewey Pulliam and Elizabeth Garzio.

(PRWeb August 18, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/08/prweb14607643.htm

7 hours ago

Recent release “Southern Justice” from Page Publishing author Jim Jones a phenomenal tale that follows the main character, George Walker Guice, as his life narrates the truth to Southern Justice.

(PRWeb August 18, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/08/prweb14607686.htm

7 hours ago

Recent release “Life Is Too Short to Waste and Do Nothing” from Page Publishing author Gracie Curry Holman is a book of poetry in which the author explores her emotions over losing her husband and...

(PRWeb August 18, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/08/prweb14607759.htm

7 hours ago

Recent release “Intertwining Choices: A Curriculum of Social Acquisition and Empowerment” from Page Publishing author Cleresse Sprague is a guide comprised of stories conceived to help youth reflect...

(PRWeb August 18, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/08/prweb14607826.htm

7 hours ago

Recent release “The Taborie Team Incident: A Kyle Galen Adventure” from Page Publishing author Wayne Michaels is the suspenseful story of a brilliant sixteen-year-old resident of an interplanetary...

(PRWeb August 18, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/08/prweb14607937.htm

7 hours ago

“Depressed: Super Heroes of the Bible” from Christian Faith Publishing author Jessica Linhart is a look into depression and anxiety as shown through biblical characters.

(PRWeb August 18, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/08/prweb14608373.htm

powered by zFeeder