The latest on books and the arts


Did Pride really deserve an adult rating in the US? Yes, it did
By Ryan Gilbey - 08 October 13:15

The Motion Picture Association of America may have a poor track record on equality - but in the case of Pride their decision was just and correct.

Robert Webb as a teenager: “Slow, skinny and an utter countryside coward”
How not to be a boy: Robert Webb on growing up, and losing a parent
By Robert Webb - 08 October 12:05

Nobody ever told me: you don’t have to waste years trying to figure out how to be a “man” because the whole concept is horseshit.

Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck as Amy and Nick in Gone Girl.
Female villains and false accusations: a feminist defence of Gone Girl
By Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett - 07 October 13:20

Gone Girl is not anti-feminist. True equality is admitting that women can be evil too.

Pierre Niney and Charlotte Le Bon in “Yves Saint Laurent” (2014). Photo: Thibault Grabherr
What lies behind French film’s fascination with the glory days of Les Trente Glorieuses?
By Oliver Farry - 06 October 13:31

A recent spate of biopics focused on the cultural icons of France’s prosperous decades after World War Two prompt the question: what is it about those years that keeps French cinema harking back to them?

© Laura Dodsworth
Bare Reality: My milk went when Hitler marched in
By Bare Reality - 06 October 9:11

An excerpt from Bare Reality, a project to further understanding of how women really feel about their breasts, and how they really look.

Other side of perfect: Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and Amy (Rosamund Pike).
David Fincher’s Gone Girl is a grim comedy about the impossibility of perfection
By Ryan Gilbey - 02 October 15:00

This film, adapted by Gillian Flynn from her bestselling thriller, is a whodunnit without a body.

Ears are strange things. Photo: Getty
Suzanne Moore: I clipped the hair from pensioners’ ears and prepared to insert the pink goo
By Suzanne Moore - 02 October 12:55

How I became a Trainee Audiology Technician. In an actual hospital. I wore a white coat and everything.

A young Natalie Portman in “Leon: The Professional”, a source of inspiration for a sexualised campaign.
Fashion’s Lolita moment: why are campaigns so keen to fetishise young girls?
By Harriet Williamson - 02 October 12:06

Sexualising young girls to sell clothes sends the message that all females, regardless of their age or developmental maturity, are fair sexual game.

Before they were batty: the cast of TV’s Gotham.
Mark Lawson: What the boy Batman tells us about TV prequels
By Mark Lawson - 02 October 12:02

Gotham follows an established formula in applying to fictional CVs the nostalgic-ironic tactics of TV archive series such as Before They Were Famous.

Astonishing access: remote-controlled cameras follow the officers at Luton Police Station. Photo: Courtesy of Channel 4
24 Hours in Police Custody: a gripping and pretty nuanced look at how policing works
By Rachel Cooke - 02 October 11:47

For this programme, Channel 4’s team used 60 remote-controlled cameras and five roving crews to film what really goes on inside a police station.

“Apes that eat figs”, “Hitler’s deeds”, “Tongue rippling”, “Polycarb’nate roof”: the pick of politicians' poetry
By Anoosh Chakelian - 02 October 9:35

Politicians, both here and across the pond, have written a surprising amount of poetry over the years. Here are some of the best (or worst) bits.

The Irish nationalist Rover Casement kept diaries of his sexual exploits. Photo: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
Romancing rebellion: the culture that spawned the Irish rebels of Easter 1916
By Colm Tóibín - 02 October 9:30

Despite the wealth of sources on this subject, a puzzle remains: not only about the effect of the rebellion but about what caused it to take place.

After Mark Cocker’s glorious book, you will never look at a blackberry bush the same way again
By Philip Hoare - 02 October 9:15

Great nature writing makes us look anew at what we take for granted.

The fallen leaves of deciduous trees, pictured underwater. Photo: Corey Hendrickson/Gallery Stock
The dark, ripe smell of a summer’s end
By John Burnside - 02 October 9:14

Autumn is also the season not of perfumes, or even scents, but of one complex, yet oddly single smell.

Chuck Barry jams with fellow starts in an illustration by Robert Crumb.
Red, white and blues: The History of Rock’n’Roll in Ten Songs
By Mark Ellen - 02 October 9:12

This ambitiously-titled new work eschews the blunt logic of most rock scholarship, and instead charges down a particular path and then meanders off-road through the dense pop-cultural undergrowth.

David Mitchell, the master builder
By Erica Wagner - 02 October 9:10

When he was a child, David Mitchell drew maps. Now he creates worlds.

Alan Johnson leaving No 10 Downing St in 2009, when he was health secretary. Photo: Getty
Alan Johnson’s Please, Mister Postman: the best political testament I have ever read
By Peter Wilby - 02 October 9:07

This second volume of Alan Johnson’s memoirs brings to life a world in which postal workers fed cats while their owners were away and fetched coal for old folk.

Edge of desire: Tennessee Williams in Key West in 1981. Photo: Nathan Benn/Ottochrome/Corbis
The beautiful and damned: the vertiginous life and art of Tenessee Williams
By Douglas Kennedy - 02 October 9:03

One of the underlying truisms of literary biography is that the messier the personal narrative, the more interesting the read, which is why this one is such a page-turner.

Neil MacGregor. Photo: BBC
Is this the perfect radio series? On Germany: Memories of a Nation
By Antonia Quirke - 02 October 8:59

Following on from the global success of A History of the World in 100 Objects, Neil MacGregor is back with a new 30-part series.

There isn't just one kind of love in the world. Photo: Getty
Will Self: Why love is a many-splendored thing
By Will Self - 02 October 8:26

The dog-bound hordes on the road to Cheshire got me thinking about this thing called love.

“The Inquisition in New Spain” by Samuel de Champlain (1574-1635). Image: Brown University Library, Rhode Island/Bridgeman Images
John Gray: is religion to blame for history’s bloodiest wars?
By John Gray - 01 October 16:32

From the Inquisition to Isis, religion is blamed for brutality. But violence is a secular creed too.

The Booker and Goldsmiths shortlists combined.
All must have prizes! How the Goldsmiths and Folio awards are changing the literary landscape
By Leo Robson - 01 October 11:00

Two new prizes are making fresh demands of fiction – and the Booker is taking note, writes Leo Robson.

The shortlist for the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize has been announced
By Critic - 01 October 6:00

The award for “fiction at its most novel” returns for its second year.

Job seekers.
“Innocent, gullible, and blinded by illusions”: Honoré de Balzac on the misery of interns in 1841
By Philip Maughan - 29 September 11:20

“There are two types of interns: poor ones and rich ones. The poor intern has pockets full of hope and needs a permanent position; the rich intern is unmotivated and wants for nothing.”

© Laura Dodsworth
Bare Reality: Breasts are an integral part of my identity as a woman
By Bare Reality - 29 September 9:05

An excerpt from Bare Reality, a project to further understanding of how women really feel about their breasts, and how they really look.

Opening Night Performance of 'King Lear' at Delacorte Theater on August 5, 2014 in New York City
Why is there still a gender imbalance in theatre?
By Alexander Woolley - 26 September 16:27

Most audience members are female, but actresses and female writers are having a tough time.

City that never sleeps: New York's Time Square in 1980. Photo: Getty
Suzanne Moore: Strawberry cheesecake, sex motels and the blonde with a heart of darkness
By Suzanne Moore - 26 September 15:22

In the first instalment of her new column for the New Statesman, Suzanne Moore recalls wild times with a dangerously alluring friend in early-1980s New York.

In the Frame: The End Game
By Tom Humberstone - 26 September 12:58

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

Illustration by Jackson Rees
Will Self: Whoever came up with Duck and Waffle’s menu is some kind of twisted genius
By Will Self - 26 September 12:28

This is perfect comfort food for those who’re feeling vertiginous as they contemplate the giddy extent of the ever-inflating London property bubble.

Karl Miller, former literary editor of the NS, who has died aged 83
Great Scot: Karl Miller’s pilgrimage through the London literary world
By Leo Robson - 26 September 11:43

The editor, critic and writer, who was literary editor of the New Statesman in the 1960s, head of English at UCL and founded the London Review of Books, has died, aged 83.