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Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

A lecture explaining why using our imaginations, and providing for others to use theirs, is an obligation for all citizens Its important for people to tell you what side they are on and why, and whether they might be biased. A declaration of members interests, of a sort. So, I am going to be talking to you about reading. Im going to tell you that libraries are important. Im going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. Im…

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20 Signs Youre Doing Better Than You Think You Are

Youpaid the bills this month, and maybe even had extra to spend on non-necessities. It doesn’t matter how much you belabored the checks as they went out, the point is thatthey did, and you figured it out regardless. You question yourself. You doubt your life. You feel miserable some days. This means you’re still open to growth. This means you can be objective and self-aware. The best people go home at the end of the day and think: “or… maybe there’s another way.” You have a job. Forhowever many hours,…

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100 best nonfiction books: No 80 – The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne by Gilbert White (1789)

This curates beautiful and lucid observations on the wildlife of a Hampshire village inspired generations of naturalists The Rev Gilbert White was that now extinct species, the unmarried Oxbridge don in holy orders. A lifelong curate and a fellow of Oriel College, White devoted himself to observing flora and fauna at large in the natural world, a sequence of observations for which he became world famous. In 1755, after the death of his father, he returned to the family home in Selborne, settling for comfortable obscurity in a remote Hampshire…

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Crimes of the Father by Thomas Keneally review something rotten in Catholicism

The Booker prize winners powers remain undimmed, as he shines a light on institutionalised abuse, and denial, in the Catholic church, It is over half a century since a young the church turns a blind eye. Psychologist and monk Father Frank Docherty is, his younger brother says (and no doubt speaking for the author), the real bloody deal as far as priests go. Exiled by his home cardinal in Sydney as a young priest in the 1970s, on account of his radicalism, opposition to apartheid and the Vietnam war, he…

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On my radar: Jazzy Jeffs cultural highlights

The DJ and producer on Jay-Zs new album, the Philadelphia 76ers and the great taste of blue crab Born in West Philadelphia, DJ Jazzy Parents Just Dont Understand (1988). The groups second Grammy was earned for Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon Shep Gordon: Hes kind of like a modern-day Forrest Gump. Photograph: Dogwoof This is about Shep Gordons life as a talent manager, the things he accomplished and the people he managed, from Michael Douglas to Sylvester Stallone. Its one of the most special documentaries Ive ever seen definitely…

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Chelsea Manning appears in Vogue magazine’s September issue

Former US army analyst turned whistleblower appears in red one-piece swimsuit, tweeting: guess this is what freedom looks like Chelsea Manning, the former US Army analyst turned whistleblower, has graced the pages of Vogue magazines September issue. Manning was photographed in a red swimsuit on a beach by acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz for the video known as Collateral Murder that showed US military killing dozens of unarmed Iraqi citizens. Manning came out as transgender the day after she was sentenced. Lawyers successfully advocated for her to undergo hormone therapy while…

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Hollywoods grim century of fat-shaming: from Greta Garbo to Chle Grace Moretz

The film industry has a long and unhealthy obsession with the weight of its female stars. The more who speak up like Moretz did this week the more chance there is of change This week, 20-year-old actor Chle Grace Moretz said she had been body-shamed by a male actor on set when she was 15. He was her co-star at the time, in his 20s, cast in the role of her love interest, and he said he would never date her in real life, because she was too big. It…

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Bill Murray goes to see Groundhog Day again

The star of the 1993 classic movie went to see the Broadway musical version on Tuesday and then returned Wednesday for another show Tuesday: Bill Murray, star of Groundhog Day, a film famously about reliving the same day over and over, is spotted at the Broadway show based on that film. Wednesday: Bill Murray, star of Groundhog Day, a film famously about reliving the same day over and over, is spotted at the Broadway show based on that film. So far hes seen it twice. It is not known if…

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Henry David Thoreau by Laura Dassow Walls review radical, unsettling, relevant

A superb new biography of the seer of Walden Pond reconsiders his reputation as tax-refuser, recluse, environmentalist and writer In March 1845, Henry David Thoreau borrowed an axe and set off for Walden Pond, near his home in Concord, Massachusetts. He was going to build a hut, and he knew exactly where: on a spot near the water, backed by a pine grove and fronted by smaller pines and a chestnut tree. Before stopping for his first lunch break, Thoreau had cut and trimmed enough of these pines to make…

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Wax it means wax it: Madame Tussauds sets to work on Theresa May

London attraction says it is in first stages of four-month process of creating figure of UK prime minister Her automated slogans and stilted election campaign may have earned her the nickname Maybot, but an even more lifeless incarnation of the prime minister is about to be unveiled. Madame Tussauds has announced the commission of a wax figure of Theresa May that is to be placed outside the Downing Street set at the London attraction, joining political heavyweights such as Donald Trump and Angela Merkel. Real of fake? The finishing touches…

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Secrets of Silicon Valley review are we sleepwalking towards a technological apocalypse?

Are the idealists good guys who are challenging the old order or are they really tax-minimising corporations that threaten our future? Antonio Garca Martnez has seen the future and it is terrifying. Which is why he is going to set up home (this is the drone room right here) on a small island north of Seattle and live out the ravages of post-America, self-sufficiently, with acomposting toilet and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. He is nervy and fast-talking, like asurvivor who has seen unimaginably horrific things. And he has he was…

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The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness review a tale of betrayal by the church

Graham Caveneys defiant, important memoir details how the Catholic establishment fails abuse victims Pope Francis has taken great strides in challenging all sorts of entrenched attitudes and prejudices in the Vatican that have given the Catholic church such a bad name of late. Progress has been disappointingly slow, however, on the commission he appointed in 2014 to tackle the appalling scandal of clerical sexual abuse. In March of this year bookshop.theguardian.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99…

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100 best nonfiction books: No 79 The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano (1789)

The most famous slave memoir of the 18th century is a powerful and terrifying read and established Equiano as a founding figure in black literary tradition Black literature begins with the slave memoirs of the 18th century. Equianos Interesting Narrative is the most famous of these, especially once it was taken up by supporters of the abolition movement, but he was not the first African slave to publish a book in England, or, if we remember Dr Johnsons manservant, Mary Prince in 1831 (The History of Mary Prince, a West…

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