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The Pulse Glass by Gillian Tindall review – hidden histories and heirlooms episode download
10 décembre, par Anthony Quinn[ —]
An exploration of loss and remembrance told through inherited and found objects is revelatory yet reticent

Gillian Tindall is a high-minded Autolycus, devoted not merely to snapping up the “unconsidered trifles” of past lives but holding them to the light to glean the stories they might conceal. “Most objects, like all people, disappear in the end,” she writes at the start of The Pulse Glass, an excellent suite of essays on transience and remembrance. And yet not everything crumbles to dust; some bits and pieces defy the odds by surviving, and it is Tindall’s delight – albeit of a measured and low-key sort – to describe their escape from “the quiet darkness of forgetting”.

Take, for instance, the scrap of tightly folded paper recently discovered in the crack of a wall at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, possibly to stop up a draught; when examined, it turned out to be a fragment of a musical score by Thomas Tallis, from a service held in St Paul’s in 1544. Or the case of an attic clearance in Westminster Abbey where debris was found strewn across the floor. It was about to be tipped away when an archaeologist happened to notice many tiny shards of coloured glass mixed in there: closer study uncovered 30,000 fragments, which when put together revealed details of “exquisite workmanship” dating back to the 13th century – literally a window on a lost world.

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Kate Figes obituary episode download
9 décembre, par Claire Armitstead[ —]

Writer who excelled as an astute observer of people, in books exploring relationships and family life

“I don’t believe that any of us can ever accept the inevitability of our own death. Life is too bloody wonderful.” So wrote Kate Figes, who has died of cancer aged 62, in her final piece of journalism, published only a fortnight ago. After listing some of the medical crises that had made her life rather less than wonderful over the last few months, she concluded that even this terrible year had its “surprising silver lining”, in that “by coming that much closer to dying I have learned a little more about how to live well.” Living well, for Figes, meant continuing to look beyond her own determined struggle to beat the odds.

Born into a family of writers, she found her own writing niche as a smart and accessible synthesiser of complex information, an indefatigable interviewer and an astute observer of people. It was not until her early 30s that she plucked up the courage to write full-time, because “it’s not easy to believe you can when your own mother is one too”.

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

9 décembre, par 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 blogpost. Here’s our roundup of your comments and photos from last week.

Let’s start with a success story. “I’ve just finished Memento Mori by Muriel Spark,” says ignicapilla, “yet another recommendation from this forum and another that I’ve enjoyed enormously”:

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Book prize judge alleges co-jurors did not finish reading shortlist

9 décembre, par Alison Flood[ —]

Lesley McDowell was one of five judges for the Saltire Scottish fiction book of the year, but claims gender bias slanted decision against Lucy Ellmann

A judge of one of Scotland’s most prestigious literary awards has resigned over its choice of winner, claiming that her fellow judges had not read all of the books, and selected a book by a male author about a woman over three books by women about women.

The Saltire Society literary awards gave out a host of prizes at the National Museum of Scotland last weekend. The Scottish fiction book of the year went to Ewan Morrison for his novel Nina X, described by judges as a “great feat of imagination, showing digital modernity through the eyes of a young woman emerging from a lifetime within the confines of a Maoist commune”.

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Aivali: A Story of Greeks and Turks in 1922 by Soloup review – a moving graphic novel episode download
9 décembre, par Thanos Kyratzis[ —]

The traumas of the Turks and Greeks forced to flee their homes a century ago are drawn with moving simplicity and speak clearly to today’s refugee crisis

The distance between the ports of Mytilene, on the Greek island Lesbos, and Ayvalık, a Turkish city known as Aivali in Greek, is 47.5km by sea. Between 1922 and 2019, millions of people have crossed the unpredictable waters, many of them fleeing wars around the world.

Aivali: A Story of Greeks and Turks in 1922, a graphic novel published in Greek in 2014 and recently translated into English by Tom Papademetriou, is the story of the 1.6 million refugees who made the journey that year alone, when the Greek and Turkish governments agreed to a massive population exchange at the end of the Greco-Turkish war. The Greek Orthodox Christians of Asia Minor and other Turkish regions were made to relocate to Greece, while Muslim Greek citizens were forced into Turkey. Both sides suffered, and this is the strongest message in this soul-stirring account, which acknowledges all sides of the tragedy.

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Poem of the week: The Flea by John Donne

9 décembre, par Carol Rumens[ —]

A ludicrous image of physical intimacy provides a suitor with a feeble wooing ruse – and us with sharp romantic comedy

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The inside story of Germany’s biggest scandal since the Hitler diaries

9 décembre, par Philip Oltermann[ —]

The furore surrounding Der Spiegel journalist Claas Relotius is back, with a book by the colleague who exposed him

Fiction and non-fiction can feed off each other in unusual ways. In the winter of 2018, Germany was shaken by the biggest media scandal since the forged Hitler diaries, after it emerged that the country’s bastion of investigative journalism had published stories by a reporter who had “fictionalised” his prize-winning articles with armies of invented characters. Now the “Relotius scandal” has gone into its second round, with the publication of a non-fiction book by the journalist who exposed his fraudulent colleague: a detective story about the search for truth in the era of fake news that makes a more gripping read than most novelists could have managed.

The plot of Juan Moreno’s Tausend Zeilen Lüge (A Thousand Lines of Lies) resembles that of the 2003 film Shattered Glass, about New Republic reporter Stephen Glass – a film that the young Der Spiegel journalist Claas Relotius was shown as a cautionary tale as part of his journalism degree. Claas Relotius was regarded as a likable colleague with a great talent for unearthing incredible stories from across the globe: a vivid inside account from a high-security prison in California; the tale of how a boy’s graffiti started the war in Syria; an exclusive interview with the parents of American football star Colin Kaepernick.

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'Sometimes the world goes feral' – 11 odes to Europe episode download
9 décembre[ —]

As Britain braces itself for the Brexit endgame, leading poets – from Carol Ann Duffy to Andrew McMillan – take the pulse of our fragmenting world

From the collection Kin, Cinnamon Press, 2018

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Frost Fair by Carol Ann Duffy review – icy perfection from a curator of cold episode download
8 décembre, par Kate Kellaway[ —]
Duffy’s beguiling short ballad, gracefully illustrated by David de las Heras, pithily explores London’s ‘Great Winter’ of 1683

Frost Fair is a tiny book, about 4in x 4in, and might be alighted upon as a stocking filler, though, unlike most stocking fillers, it will surely survive Christmas Day.

It is tempting to take Carol Ann Duffy for granted, in rather the same way that Joyce Carol Oates is sometimes undervalued because of her productivity. But reading this small, icy, perfectly formed book – a ballad, a winter’s tale – one is reminded of Duffy’s consistent excellence. And here she is supported by David de las Heras’s understatedly graceful illustrations. A solitary figure in rusty red walks through a sepia world of snow, flanked by feathery poplars. The ballad begins as an ordinary yarn: “So cold it was –” and then after you turn the page, becomes a singular story:

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Endland by Tim Etchells review – brilliantly horrible short stories

8 décembre, par Ian Sansom[ —]

There are no happy endings in this nastily funny phantasmagoria set in a warped version of England

There will always be people who are hipper than you. You’ll have been reading Murakami, for example, and they’ll say: “Haruki or Ray?” Or you’ll just have discovered Soviet sci-fi or weird folk and they’ll have long since moved on to space-jazz and Chinese noir. Just like in the song, you saw the crescent, but they saw the whole of the moon. Tim Etchells is a whole of the moon sort of a person.

Etchells is a writer and artist and the artistic director of performance art group Forced Entertainment. The stories in Endland are gathered from an earlier publication, Endland Stories: Or Bad Lives, published in 1999, with additional pieces and an introduction by Jarvis Cocker. I am so utterly unhip that I wasn’t familiar with the original, but I am now a diehard fan: late to the party, I’m glad to have made it at all.

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