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Churchill by Andrew Roberts review is it possible to break through the myth?

The great statesmans standing in the Britain of 2018 is arguably higher than it was in 1945. This biography too easily dismisses his less heroic side How to assess the career of a world-changing politician who was also a prolific journalist, writer and incessant self-publicist? Aside from his other achievements, Winston Churchill wrote a six-volume, 1.9m-word account of the second world war and his role in winning it. Are we able, more than five decades after his death, to peer over the mountain of his reputation and his writings more…

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Book-Lover Turns Her Massive Library Into Art, And Her 90k Instagram Followers Approve

Some people like to read art books, others enjoy making art from books. ‘Bookstagrammer’ Elizabeth Sagan has been sharing her love for books with her 90k followers for several years, and never ceases to amaze everyone with her creative scenarios. It all began with sharing her favorite reads, then interactive shots with a bookcase. As she became more and more involved with the idea, photos got steadily more complex and creative. Today she creates intricate and inspiring artwork from her massive collection of books. If this art form seems familiar,…

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Protest and parade on the streets of San Francisco

The 80s were a decade of demonstration for California photographer Janet Delaney. As her photos are collected in a book and the city stirs again she talks about her work In 1981, at the start of the Reagan years, photographer Janet Delaney decamped from the South of Market or SoMa neighbourhood in her beloved San Francisco, where she had lived since her teens, to a new home in the Mission district. Aged just 29, she had spent the previous few years documenting social change and gentrification in SoMa. I was…

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Joy Division inspired me to write but could I write about their music? | Sophie Mackintosh

Man Booker longlisted author Sophie Mackintosh explains how writing a short story based on Unknown Pleasures led her back to the music that made her want to be an author Two years ago, I received an email inviting me to contribute to a short-story anthology on Joy Division. It would be a literary reimagining of their 1979 debut Unknown Pleasures the only Joy Division album released during singer Ian Curtiss lifetime with each author assigned one of the songs and left free to interpret it however they liked. I was…

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Elena Ferrante: Beauty triumphs in childhood photos, along with charm, joy, happy laughter

Missing is the distress, tiredness, irritation, fear, tantrums I dont have much to do with children these days. Friends and relatives send me photographs and videos of their children. I save this material carefully: I like comparing the face of a newborn with what he or she has become at eight months, at two years, at three. I have no photographs of myself as a newborn; the first image goes back to when I was two. Whereas theres not a day in the life of my granddaughter that has not…

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Know thyself by writing your first novel

Dig deep inside, battle self-doubt and become the person you know you can be. Richard Skinner on the healing powers of writing a novel Writing a novel is a scary prospect. Theyre so long and winding, they can seem never-ending. The main obstacle might seem to be starting the terror of the blank page but the real stumbling block lies elsewhere. There is no reason in the world why you cant write a novel and the only thing stopping you from doing so is yourself. It seems such an insurmountable…

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It’s Never Too Late to Be a Reader Again

It was a book that drove me away from books. This wasn’t a trauma of distaste, or indulgence: not a literary bad mussel, not waking up on the floor of someone's house with a swimming head and the knowledge that I could never again be within smelling distance of their first editions. My aversion was borne of fear. The fear took root in 2016—which, while decidedly not-great in general, was very much a great year for books. Especially fiction. Especially especially speculative fiction. Between new releases and neo-classics I finally…

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Twitter rips awful Forbes take about replacing libraries with Amazon

Libraries are amazing and bad takes in Forbes are not.Image: Mark Lennihan/AP/REX/Shutterstock There are bad takes, and then there’s the take by Forbes contributor Panos Mourdoukoutas (who also serves as Chair of the Department of Economics at Long Island University) that local libraries should be replaced by Amazon book stores.  Among the reasons Mourdoukoutas offers are: libraries don’t have as many public events as they used to because of school auditoriums; people go to places like Starbucks to hang out and work and read now instead of their library; and…

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Madeleine Albright: The things that are happening are genuinely, seriously bad

Madeleine Albright decries the global rise of authoritarianism in her new book, Fascism: A Warning, and talks about Trump, Putin and the tragedy of Brexit Madeleine Albright has both made and lived a lot of history. When she talks about a resurgence of fascism, she says it as someone who was born into the age of dictators. She was a small girl when her family fled Czechoslovakia after the Nazis consumed the country in 1939. After 10 days in hiding, her parents escaped Prague for Britain and found refuge in…

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Risotto, robotics and virtual reality: how Canada created the world’s best libraries

As libraries across the world battle for survival, one system has embraced the digital age and in Toronto, books take a backseat In the lobby of the downtown branch of Britain has closed hundreds since 2010, reduced hours in others and replaced many paid librarians with volunteers. In Belgium, an advocacy group called staff per visitor has fallen across the board since 2012, and circulation and visits are dropping. The disruption of Silicon Valley in which Uber replaces taxis, Airbnb replaces hotels and Netflix replaces video stores has many governments…

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The borrowers: why Finland’s cities are havens for library lovers

Helsinkis state-of-the-art Oodi library will stand opposite parliament and boast a cinema, recording studio and makerspace. Its a perfect fit for a literate nation taking public learning to the next level A library card was the first thing that was mine, that I had ever owned, says Nasima Razmyar. The daughter of a former Afghan diplomat, Razmyar arrived in Revolutionising the library artists impressions of the design for Oodi, including (clockwise): the exterior, the top floor childrens area and the recording studio In recognition of that fact, at a time…

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Margot Kidder, Superman’s Lois Lane, dies aged 69

Canadian-born actor, who secured screen stardom via blockbusting comic book adaptation, experienced long-term mental health issues Margot Kidder, whose best known role was as reporter Lois Lane in the 1978 Superman movie has died aged 69. a highly publicised breakdown in 1996 in which she disappeared for four days. She subsequently turned to social and political activism, becoming an organiser for the Progressive Democrats of America and writing numerous articles for left-leaning publications. Kidder was married three times: to novelist Thomas McGuane (with whom she had a daughter, Maggie), actor…

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Patrick Melrose review a brilliant portrayal of addiction

Benedict Cumberbatch had long wanted to play Edward St Aubyns character and David Nichollss adaptation shows the actors deep understanding of the role The phone rings, one of those telephones from my childhood, with a curly wire connecting the receiver. A stripy-shirted arm reaches for it tentatively. Hello? says a voice deep, aristocratic, lugubrious and woozy, but unmistakably Benedict Cumberbatch (confirmed when the camera eventually looks higher). There is a delay and an echo on the line (remember that?). Sad news from New York: his father has died. Patrick Melrose,…

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