Chasing the King of Hearts by Hanna Krall11 Oct 2013 03:53:53
Like all questions in this brief novel ("Does this bag look Jewish?"), it has no sane answer, because this is Nazi-occupied Poland and insanity reigns. What Izolda is worried about is that her husband, Shayek, might have died in the concentration camp where he is currently incarcerated, which would end her mission to save him and stay alive. Because, as she asks in the tiny chapter called "Justice", is it fair to have to stay alive and save people when there is, increasingly, no one left to save... Read Full Story
Gandhi Before India by Ramachandra Guha10 Oct 2013 03:45:24
In London, Indians can become barristers or MPs, but in the colony of Natal they are not even permitted to cross the border into the Transvaal. Mohandas Gandhi is received by senior government ministers; wearing a tailcoat, he preaches moderation to a meeting of Indian revolutionaries; he woos English journalists, and sends a letter to Leo Tolstoy enclosing a hagiography of himself. Already, there are signs of the later man. He checks up on the newspaper he runs and on progress at his rural comm... Read Full Story
Plutocrats Chrystia Freeland 10 Oct 2013 03:43:32
This is, at times, a hugely depressing book, and not least among its depressing features are the notes of self-pity from the super-rich themselves. On the second page of the introduction we read of Robert Kenny, "a Boston psychologist who specializes in counseling the super-elite" (American spellings throughout, which perhaps also accounts for her repeated use of the phrase "the hoi polloi", which should be used correctly or not at all). By Kenny's own testimony, the tissues in his consulting ro... Read Full Story
Hatchet Job by Mark Kermode10 Oct 2013 03:41:40
Hatchet Job also contains some howlers: such as an Alanis Morissette-level misuse of "ironic" and all its cognates, and an "inchoate" for "incoherent" solecism that I found hard to square with Kermode's quarter-century hacking away at the typeface, and harder still to take given his view that film criticism can be a craft that in the right hands rises to the status of an art form. Ah, well, no need to worry, I'm not about to continue this hatchet job on Hatchet Job; after all, to write a book ab... Read Full Story
'Nine months of hell' Elizabeth Smart09 Oct 2013 05:19:32
Minutes after 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was snatched from her bedroom in the dead of night, a police cruiser idled by along a neighborhood street as she was forced to the ground at knifepoint. "Move and I will kill you!" her captor hissed.
It was one of several fleeting times Smart watched a rescue slip away during her nine-month ordeal, she recounts in My Story, a 308-page book being released by St Martin's Press on Monday.
She writes that she was so terrified of the street preacher who kid... Read Full Story
The Prime Minister's Ironing Board and Other State Secrets by Adam Macqueen 09 Oct 2013 05:16:50
Some are hauntingly serious. Sir James Chadwick, Nobel prize-winner, reports back to the War Office as the first atomic bomb is tested in New Mexico. "I am filled with awe when I look back on this moment. It was a vision from the Book of Revelations."
The ironing board in question was a £19 number that Mrs T thought far too expensive when moved into No 10 for her personal use in 1979. Thatcher's strops over small things parade through these pages. But if there's a real star surfacing anew from ... Read Full Story
Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding09 Oct 2013 05:15:55
It's always a jolt to remember that the first two Bridget Jones books, published way back in the 90s, predated texting, tweeting, Facebook and internet dating: the constant stream of personal updates pinging between our devices in 2013. Her diary-style abbreviations, number-crunching obsessiveness over trivia and jokey combination of self-exposure and self-deprecation have had such an influence on the tone of social media that we all sound like Bridget now.
So it's no surprise that Helen Fieldi... Read Full Story
Tony Ray-Jones represents American Colour in 1962-196507 Oct 2013 04:08:48
As the current retrospective of his work at Media Space in London shows, the late Tony Ray-Jones was a pioneer of black-and-white documentary photography and his key subject matter was the English at leisure. His best known book, A Day Off: An English Journal was published in 1974, two years after his death from leukaemia, aged 30. It set the tone for at least two generations of British documentary work, wherein acute observation and multilayered, often metaphorical, narrative became the key det... Read Full Story
Immortal Duncan Hamilton06 Oct 2013 04:20:42
Over the past 30 years there have been countless retellings of the Best story, several written, or at any rate offered, by Best himself. One of the most enduring is Gordon Burn's Best and Edwards (2006). This sought to define Best's place in the footballing pantheon not only by setting him alongside the Corinthian figure of Duncan Edwards, who died at 21 in the Munich air disaster, but by bringing in a second exemplar, the brooding, balding presence of Bobby Charlton – everything, in temperament... Read Full Story
Red Love Maxim Leo 06 Oct 2013 04:18:30
Leo was in his teens when the Berlin Wall came down and his anxious younger self is a presence throughout the book, but it's his family's stories that dominate. The most compelling sequences concern his grandfathers: two men who were different in every way imaginable. Gerhard, his mother's father, was a Jew who ended up fighting in the French Resistance while his paternal grandfather, Werner, fought for the fatherland before ending up a prisoner of war. Leo pieces together their stories and, in... Read Full Story
Hitler's Furies Wendy Lower06 Oct 2013 04:17:32
Wendy Lower's book interweaves the experiences of 13 ordinary women who went to work in the East. Aimed at the general reader, it briskly sketches in the position of women in Nazi Germany and then skilfully introduces its cast: the hard-hearted nurse drawn into the euthanasia programme; the idealistic teacher dispatched to Poland; the shepherd's daughter who wants more from her life; the educated woman unable to practise law and drafted into service as a military nurse; the small-town swindler; ... Read Full Story
David Bowie's - you must read it!04 Oct 2013 02:40:51
As a new version of the exhibition David Bowie Is opens this week at the Art Gallery of Ontario, curators have revealed a list of his top 100 must-read books, giving a fascinating insight into the mind of the influential musician and style icon.
The show, which offered unprecedented access to Bowie's own archive, became the most popular ever mounted by London's V&A when it ran there earlier this year.
As the Guardian's Alexis Petridis pointed out at the time, the Bowie story is so well-known t... Read Full Story