Orwell prize shortlist headed by Thatcher biography

Guardian Books - 1 hour 21 min ago
Charles Moore's authorised Life a controversial contender for book award set up in honour of George Orwell

Charles Moore's authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher has been shortlisted for the Orwell prize, the prestigious literary award for political writing set up in honour of George Orwell.

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Lady Chatterley to be adapted by Line of Duty writer

Telegraph - 1 hour 28 min ago
Four classic novels will be reinvented as films on BBC One to show 'what it was like to live in Britain 100 years ago'

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The Orwell Prize 2014: shortlist announced

Telegraph - 1 hour 33 min ago
Two Daily Telegraph journalists are shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2014, the leading prize for political writing

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A Brief History of Death by WM Spellman review

Guardian Books - 2 hours 7 min ago
From bodies wrapped in reeds to the modern funeral business but how we die may not have a straightforward history. The questions this book raises remain unanswerable

This is a short history of a very big topic over a very long period of time: death, natural as well as violent, in all its physiological, psychological, philosophical, social, and religious animistic, polytheistic, monotheistic, and nontheistic aspects everywhere and in all times from the caves of the Paleolithic age to modern hospitals, from northern Europe to sub-Saharan Africa, from pre-Columbian North America to ancient China.

William Spellman begins when humans or their near relatives first began to care for their dead. No one is sure when that was. He says in one place that it was no later than 130,000 years ago, in another that it was in the old stone age, ie 90,000-10,000 BC, and in yet another that the first real evidence we have comes from archaeological sites in the Czech Republic and Russia from around 28,000 BC, where care was clearly taken in the disposition of bodies and grave goods. By the time we get to the large agricultural village of Çatalhöyük in central Turkey in around the eighth millennium BC Spellman is on firmer ground: its inhabitants stayed near their dead, burying them, wrapped in reeds, under their living spaces.

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The 10 best Latin American books of all time

Telegraph - 2 hours 35 min ago
The best novels by Latin American authors or set in Latin America from One Hundred Years of Solitude to The Alchemist

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Odd book sections in bookshops: can you beat 'cosy crime'?

Guardian Books - 3 hours 36 min ago

'Tragic life stories' or 'Cosy crime' Bookselling niches are becoming ever stranger. What are the weirdest sections you have found in store?

A recent conversation in our Tips, links and suggestions column drew attention to a strange phenomenon: booksellers are taking an ever more creative approach to the labelling of their shelves. A visit to Waterstones' London Piccadilly branch revealed a 'cosy crime' section featuring a novel that was surely written with these very shelves in mind: James Anderson's The Affair of the Blood-stained Egg Cosy.

But the trend doesn't stop with retro-crime, as MsCarey pointed out:

I made a trip to my nearest big town today. In addition to Waterstones and Oxfam Books I decided to check out the book selection at W.H. Smith. Not bad as it turned out (in a book-related emergency I could find something there) but the most striking aspect of the book dept was a whole section named Tragic Life Stories. This was a strange and terrible thing. Starting off with memoirs (Call the Midwife) it then moved on to a solid phalanx of novels by a limited number of authors producing work ranging from East End deprivation to honour killings. Evidently a whole new type of genre fiction.

The most terrible thing I saw was in the travel literature section at Oxfam Books. It was called England, Our England and "compiled and illustrated" by Alan Titchmarsh. This was sitting next to Colin Thubron and Mark Tully.

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The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joël Dicker review

Guardian Books - 4 hours 36 min ago
This mega-selling Euro thriller about a blocked writer and suspected killer has been compared to Roth, Franzen and Bellow, but is more reminiscent of Harlan Coben

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair comes with some fanfare: translated into 32 languages; 2m copies sold in a year; winner of three French literary prizes; trailing comparisons to Roth, Franzen and Bellow. A reviewer should ignore all this, of course even when the book under discussion includes an acidic commentary on publishing hype but I must mention it out of fairness. So many critics seem to have been knocked on their behinds by Dicker's novel that I can't be sure I'm not missing something in filing what you might call a minority report. They see a masterpiece; I see a completely ordinary, amiably cartoonish and well aerated page-turner that does nothing interesting in literary terms at all.

The protagonist of Dicker's novel is Marcus Goldman, a shallow, handsome, praise-hungry young man whose first novel made him rich and famous. He dated an actor, swanked around at New York parties and revelled in his celebrity. But work on the second book has gone nowhere, and with a deadline and a possible lawsuit looming, the blocked wunderkind travels to the town of Somerset, in rural New Hampshire, to reconnect with Harry Quebert, his college writing professor and mentor.

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JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy to be made into HBO/BBC miniseries

Telegraph - 4 hours 55 min ago
The Harry Potter author's first novel for adults will become a three-hour miniseries, co-produced by the BBC and HBO

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Django Wexler's top 10 animal companions

Guardian Books - 5 hours 36 min ago
From Harry Potter's Hedwig to Lyra's Pantalaimon, there is a proud history of animal companions in children's fiction. Django Wexler picks out 10 of the very best

I have a saying: Everything is better with cats.

The reasoning behind that should be self-evident. I mean, cats. So when I went to write The Forbidden Library, it was a no-brainer that there should be a cat. And the only thing better than a cat is a cat that talks. The wonderful thing about a talking cat is that you feel like you already what he ought to be like sarcastic, but lovable; aloof, but not above a good belly rub.

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Everyday Sexism and The Vagenda review

Guardian Books - 5 hours 41 min ago
On the new viciousness towards young women: Zoe Williams on two bracing responses to lad culture and sexist media

Nobody would deny that the fourth wave of feminism exists, and nobody I care about would deny that it was a good thing: on the ground, it picks a target and takes it from impossible to done. A woman on banknotes? They'll never go for it Mervyn King won't like it oh, he's gone maybe in a decade what done? Lads' magazines come on nobody likes them it doesn't mean we can do anything about them to be honest, ladies, we've been moaning about this for years what Nuts, seriously? Gone?

Their efficacy gives me doubts beyond how much I know about feminism, right into how much I know about campaigns, groundswell, what revolution, should it arrive, will look like. As Kira Cochrane demonstrates in All the Rebel Women: The Rise of the Fourth Wave of Feminism, the new ambitions are concrete, often co-ordinated and unlimited by pedestrian concerns, such as whether it's ever worked before, or whether people may find it icky.

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Let's hear it for those poor, mumbling actors

Telegraph - 7 hours 1 min ago
As 'Jamaica Inn' shows, the best efforts of the cast can be undone by production gremlins, says Michael Simkins

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Chetan Bhagat: Bollywood's favourite author

Guardian Books - 7 hours 37 min ago
Salman Rushdie isn't a fan, but that hasn't stopped Chetan Bhagat selling millions of novels. India's biggest author talks success, snobbery and the joy of broken English

"There is an India that speaks English and an India that doesn't and they are very different," says Chetan Bhagat. "There is a big need for bridges that link the two. And I am one of them."

Certainly, the 39-year-old Punjabi is one of India's most successful English-language novelists currently at work. Unlike Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy and Aravind Adiga, however, he has not been adopted by London's literati, anointed the "authentic" voice of the subcontinent and exported back to a fawning welcome by India's anglophone elite. Nor is Bhagat's phenomenal success (with six novels shifting 7 million copies) due to foreign sales and profile of which he has very little. It's more to do with his intimacy with lower-born Indians, whose restricted hopes, humdrum work, romantic dramas, family tensions and sense of humour he has shared and sympathises with.

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Google Street View Now Offers Digital Travelers Historical Photos

eBookNewser - Wed, 23/04/2014 - 22:53

The joy of Google maps can only be augmented by more than just 3D buildings – these maps can also show users how those spaces looked as a different space in history. The new update to the navigation service is not a ground breaker. Rather, it’s a simple way to see things differently, with new photographs submitted by other users.

Google’s Street View’s new timeline is conceptually similar to Bing’s historical mapping, which also use old photos. Unlike Google, Bing has been advancing its digital maps as smashups of old and new maps. Bing maps have also used user-submitted photos, but has failed to include a nice time machine interface like Google Maps. continued…

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Rocki: A Wireless Device to Make Your Speakers Work Wirelessly

eBookNewser - Wed, 23/04/2014 - 20:12

The branding gurus behind this new wireless speaker accessory has aptly named their product Rocki. The wireless adapter is a colorful, rock-shaped device that can connect any pre-internet speakers with a phone or computer that can connect to Wi-Fi. If you have a speaker with a 3.5mm or RCA auxiliary input, this is an easy solution to get it to talk sweet music.

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