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Tilly and the Time Machine by Adrian Edmondson review – journey of discovery

30 May, by Sarah Donaldson[ —]

The actor’s tale about a seven-year-old pursuing her dad through history is engaging and insightful

Children’s publishing is awash with books written by celebrities. In the space of a few weeks this spring, Cara Delevingne, Dermot O’Leary, Alesha Dixon and George Galloway announced debut kids’ books. Meanwhile non-multi-tasking, professional authors complain about celebs cannibalising their marketing budgets and swallowing huge advances.

So I felt a bit bad, after reading comedian-and-actor Adrian Edmondson’s enjoyable debut, for having been irked by the copy I received with its boastful cover stamp: “Very Important Proof”. Edmondson is not a novice with an unfair fame advantage: he has a career’s worth of TV writing credits (Bottom, The Comic Strip Presents… etc), and it shows in this sophisticated novel.

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Ravens by Masahisa Fukase review – a must for any serious photobook buff

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/photographyplay episode download
30 May, by Sean O'Hagan[ —]

This rare but celebrated book, 10 years in the making, reveals the late photographer’s affinity with birds

In 1975, on a journey from Tokyo to Hokkaido, his hometown, Masahisa Fukase began to photograph the ravens he saw from the train window. Alighting at stations along the way, he captured the birds in motion or perched on poles, telegraph wires, chimneys and fences. He photographed them in flocks landing on trees or darkening the already slate grey sky and in grainy close-up, their silhouettes suggesting something solitary and elemental.

So began an obsessive creative journey that would last more than 10 years and conclude with the publication of the first edition of Ravens in 1986.

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More than the N-word: how a 'tense' Paul Beatty interview raises bigger questions | Steph Harmon

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/australia-newsplay episode download
30 May, by Steph Harmon[ —]

A controversial discussion at Sydney writers’ festival illustrates a broader truth: when it comes to conversations about race, Australia still has work to do

Every writers’ festival seems to have a flashpoint of controversy, and in Sydney at the weekend it was all about race.

On the one hand, the hour-long discussion between the Booker prize-winning African-American author Paul Beatty and the white Radio National host Michael Cathcart was the most open and engaging of Beatty’s appearances, as the author – a fairly tricky interview subject, who tends to answer difficult questions with more provocations – opened up on storytelling, history and race in in the US.

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One Hundred Years of Solitude, 50 years on

30 May, by John Dugdale[ —]

Gabriel García Márquez’s seminal saga was published two days before Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released, heralding the ‘summer of love’

A rural Colombian epic written in Mexico City and published in Buenos Aires, One Hundred Years of Solitude came out 50 years ago, on 30 May 1967. It didn’t inaugurate Latin America’s literary new wave, also including Julio Cortázar, Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa; but once translated Gabriel García Márquez’s seminal saga – a sexy, quasi-anthropological mixture of fabulous tales, lightly disguised history and seven-generation family soap opera – became the novel that gained “el Boom” recognition in the English-speaking world and shaped how it was perceived.

In a fascinating coincidence, the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released just two days later, on 1 June. As it happens, Merseyside and Macondo – the fictional town featured in the novel – were far from being worlds apart: the Fab Four were moving towards a psychedelic surrealism not unlike magic realism in 1967. The film Magical Mystery Tour came later in the year, while A Hard Day’s Night had been one of the LPs that kept García Márquez company as he wrote his novel.

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Chris Kraus: I Love Dick was written ‘in a delirium’

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/australia-newsplay episode download
30 May, by Elle Hunt[ —]

Published in 1997, I Love Dick was so far ahead of its time that only now does it seem to be approaching its apex. Chris Kraus discusses it with Elle Hunt

In 1997, Chris Kraus wrote that women’s written irrepressibility – the “sheer fact of women talking, being, paradoxical, inexplicable, flip, self-destructive but above all else public” – was the most revolutionary thing in the world. She added: “I could be years too late but epiphanies don’t always synchronise with style.”

As it transpired, she was 20 years early. Her first novel was so far ahead of its time that only now does its star seem to be approaching its apex, two decades after it was first published. With the proliferation of female voices today – a chorus she paved the way for – Kraus jokes: “Maybe there’s nothing less revolutionary.”

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Mortgages, marriage and millennial angst: rewriting what it means to be adult

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/australia-newsplay episode download
30 May, by Lou Heinrich[ —]

When Briohny Doyle turned 30 without having met traditional adult milestones, she sought to redefine what it means to be mature. Here she talks about her new book Adult Fantasy, and why she chose getting a dog over buying a house

Briohny Doyle has been a wedding celebrant, an academic, a casual greengrocer and a novelist. But when she hit 30, she panicked: life did not look like the adulthood she’d always envisioned. She became obsessed with weddings, spent “three weeks’ pay” on hiring a vintage car, and drove to Las Vegas.

“I didn’t have any sense of where my life was going,” Doyle explains. “At 30, you are legitimately an adult. People no longer say, ‘Oh, you’re young, you’ve got plenty of time.’ You’re supposed to have become something.”

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Sayeeda Warsi: UK policy on radicalisation 'has been flawed for years'

29 May, by Sian Cain[ —]

Speaking at Hay festival, Conservative peer says government is too focused on ideology as the sole cause of radicalisation

The British government’s decision making when it comes to catching homegrown radicals has been flawed for years, according to Sayeeda Warsi, who has said Britain “cannot afford to have sloppy, lazy, ideologically driven decision making” on national security.

Speaking at Hay literary festival on Monday, Lady Warsi – the Conservative peer and first Muslim in a British cabinet – said government policy was currently too focused on ideology as the sole cause of radicalisation, and not on other factors, including upbringing and drug and gang culture.

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The Handmaid's Tale tops book charts after TV series UK debut

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tv-and-radioplay episode download
29 May, by David Barnett[ —]

Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel rockets to number one on Amazon after Channel 4 begins airing series starring Elisabeth Moss

The Handmaid’s Tale, the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood envisaging a hellish dystopia where the US is ruled by an ultra-far-right regime that treats women as chattels, has rocketed to the top of the bestseller charts after the UK broadcast of the first episode of the TV adaptation.

Channel 4 aired the debut episode of the series, starring Elisabeth Moss and Joseph Fiennes, at 9pm on Sunday, and within hours the paperback of the Canadian author’s novel had reached number one in the Amazon charts.

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Corbyn should be tougher on party trolls, says Harriet Harman

29 May, by Mark Brown Arts correspondent[ —]

Politician tells Hay festival it is not enough for Labour leader to say he does not condone abuse of female MPs by members

Harriet Harman has called on Jeremy Corbyn to take a tougher stance on Labour members who abuse and troll the party’s MPs.

The Labour candidate was speaking at the Hay festival about her political career and the many battles against sexism she has had to fight.

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Tips, links and suggestions: what are you reading this week?

29 May, by Guardian readers and Sam Jordison[ —]

Your space to discuss the books you are reading and what you think of them

Welcome to this week’s blog, and our roundup of your comments and photos from last week.

Let’s start with delight. MildGloster has been enjoying Laurie Lee’s Cider With Rosie:

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