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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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End of the American dream? The dark history of ‘America first’

When he promised to put America first in his inaugural speech, Donald Trump drew on a slogan with a long and sinister history a sign of what was to follow in his presidency Sadly, the American dream is dead, Donald Trump proclaimed when he announced his candidacy for president of the United States. It seemed an astonishing thing for a candidate to say; people campaigning for president usually glorify the nation they hope to lead, flattering voters into choosing them. But this reversal was just a taste of what was…

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest director Milo Forman dies aged 86

Film-maker became key figure of the Czech new wave before emigrating to the US and establishing a successful career in Hollywood Milo Forman, the Czech-born director of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Amadeus, has died at the age of 86. Producer Michael Douglas later told the Guardian the hiring was on the strength of The Firemans Ball: It took place in one enclosed situation, with a plethora of unique characters he had the ability to juggle. With a cast led by Jack Nicholson at the height of his…

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Odds and Ends 

This Hand Painted Oscar Winning Short is One of the Most Beautiful Animations Youll See

The Old Man and the Sea is a 1999 paint-on-glass-animated short film by Russian animator Aleksandr Petrov, based on the novel of the same name by Ernest Hemingway. The film won countless awards, including the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2000. According to Wikipedia: Work on the film began in March 1997. It took Aleksandr Petrov and his son Dmitri Petrov (who helped his father) until April 1999 to paint each of the 29,000+ frames. The film’s technique, pastel oil paintings on glass, is mastered by only…

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We Photographed Hundreds Of The Most Beautiful Chickens, And Just Look At Them!

In 2013 I decided to go in search of a Concincina as a pet for my studio garden in Milan. That’s when I met Giorgio, a farmer who invited me to an aviary exhibition. My friend and work partner Moreno joined me in this passion/madness and we started to take pictures of literally hundreds of chickens and roosters. Eventually, we ended up with enough material to think about publishing a book. That’s why we just launched a Kickstarter campaign. reply View More Replies… reply reply reply reply View More Replies……

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