The latest on books and the arts


Celebrities are no longer the only people who have to worry about being pursued by cameras. (Photo: Getty)
The disheartening inevitability of a woman being shamed for eating in public
By Rebecca Reilly-Cooper - 03 April 12:18

When a woman eats in public it violates all kinds of unwritten assumptions about how women "should" act, and gives licence to those who wish to shame them.

The Norman porch of the House of Lords. Photo: Getty
I wonder what my younger self would’ve made of the House of Lords – and its hairdryers
By Tracey Thorn - 03 April 11:31

It was grand and archaic but it reminded me of nothing so much as a giant, souped-up parish council meeting.

Selfish gene: Karl Ove Knausgaard turns his mundane life into honest and provocative fiction. (Photo: David Sandson/Eyevine)
Karl Ove Knausgaard's Nordic existentialism
By Leo Robson - 03 April 11:00

Why have the confessions of a Norwegian Everyman become a literary phenomenon?

With the Miliband: Thomas Piketty. (Image: Dan Murrell)
Thomas Piketty: a modern French revolutionary
By Nick Pearce - 03 April 11:00

Piketty’s book Capital is being acclaimed as the most important work of political economy to be published in decades. It has certainly caught the attention of Ed Miliband’s inner circle.

he cast of How I Met Your Mother at a CBS publicity event in 2005. Photo: Getty.
We know How He Met Their Mother, but was it worth it?
By India Ross - 02 April 16:54

After nine seasons and years of anticipation, the story of Ted Mosby comes to an end.

Smooth operator: Timberlake onstage with a dancer at Motorpoint Arena. (Photo: Getty Images)
Justin Timberlake, the 20/20 Experience Tour
By Kate Mossman - 01 April 17:06

“This is too good. Will the pleasure never end?” asks Kate Mossman as she witnesses the endothermic showman Justin Timberlake in concert in Sheffield.

American idol: Chris Evans in The First Avenger, the debut instalment of the new Captain sagas for the big screen. (Photo: Rex Features)
An Aristotle who punches bad guys: the moral world of Captain America
By John Gray - 01 April 11:57

The patriotic superhero has been resurrected on screen in the past few years. John Gray argues that Cap's appeal lies in timeless ethics dating back to ancient Greece. 

Unlike the deadly silence elsewhere, there is often a busy buzz in the prison library. Photo: Getty
The power of words: in prison, inmates can be transformed by reading
By Rene Denfeld - 01 April 8:35

Rene Denfeld, a death penalty investigator and author, describes the power the written word has behind bars.

Matthew McConnaughey as Rust Cohle in True Detective. (Image: HBO)
Swamp-noir True Detective is the best show of 2014 (so far)
By Ian Steadman - 31 March 18:10

It may not have the best writing, but True Detective's production and acting quality mark it out as the standout show of 2014.

David McSavage and Brendan Gleeson in Calvary.
Why pop culture won’t lay a finger on paedophile priests, despite years of abuse scandals
By Mark Lawson - 31 March 17:28

The subject still awaits its defining cinematic treatment.

A concept illustration of the new Crystal Palace, produced by the ZhongRong Group.
Boris Johnson’s plan to sell public land for a new Crystal Palace will be a terrible boondoggle
By Douglas Murphy - 31 March 11:53

The idea of building a new Crystal Palace in south London appeals to the Victorian Toryism in Boris Johnson, but it would be another pointless, aesthetically-bankrupt legacy the capital will have to deal with.

The dog might be a metaphor, but it also has real teeth.
White Dog: Sam Fuller’s gritty, uneasy thriller gets a much-deserved re-release
By Ryan Gilbey - 28 March 12:54

The 1982 film about racism and prejudice is back – and its grittiness and conscientiousness is still there.

A stylish poodle, known as 'Champion Achilles', photographed in 1930. Photo: Gambier Bolton/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The day I treated H G Wells’s poodle (without the need for a time machine)
By John Brooke - 28 March 12:23

It is always an enormous bonus when a doppelgänger – artistic, philosophical, sporting, political – walks into the practice.

In the Frame: Fair and Balanced
By Tom Humberstone - 28 March 11:41

Tom Humberstone's weekly comic.

Unintelligent design: winemakers deliberately created an unsatisfying mixture of Cinsault and Pinot Noir. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Pinotage – a bad idea that became a national flag
By Nina Caplan - 28 March 11:20

The new multicultural South Africa should stop banging on about Pinotage and embrace Cinsault, a French grape so cosmopolitan that it’s even comfortable with curry.

Raymond Chandler at a party in London in 1958, flanked on either side by the publisher Anthony Blond and his wife Charlotte. Photo: Evening Standard/Getty Images
Watching the detective: how John Banville perfected the Raymond Chandler sequel
By Ian Sansom - 28 March 11:02

John Banville's Benjamin Black novels are irresistable. It's as if Henry James were writing under the pseudonym of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Under the cherry blossoms trees in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo. Photo: Getty
To be Japanese today is to negotiate the conflicting dreams of east and west
By Yo Zushi - 28 March 10:12

It’s not surprising that alienation is a persistent theme in much of the country’s fiction.

Appetite for destruction: from Turner to Tacita Dean, artists have long been drawn to ruins
By Michael Prodger - 28 March 10:05

A new exhibition surveys artistic visions of decay.

Faraway, so close: Bérénice Bejo and Ali Mosaffa in The Past
In Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, it’s only feelings that get hurt
By Ryan Gilbey - 27 March 18:53

The director of the Oscar-winning A Separation returns with a new family drama, this time set in a Parisian suburb.

We can't all be orators like Cicero, you know. Image: Getty
Bitter experience has taught me never to wing it when giving a speech . . . so I decide to wing it
By Nicholas Lezard - 27 March 11:39

This is my default way of dealing with things. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Prince Philip looks on as David Cameron plants an oak tree in the grounds of Chequers, February 2014. (Photo: Getty)
Squashed by two fat ladies, Churchill’s choice of oak and “Crinks” the lost Liberal
By Stefan Buczacki - 27 March 10:00

Notes by the former Gardeners’ Question Time chairman Stefan Buczacki.

A Bradford town garden, late 19th century. (Photo: Garden Museum, London)
Hardy blooms: the British urge to garden, against all odds
By Katherine Lambert - 27 March 10:00

Green fingerdom throughout the ages in the face of wars, poverty and social upheaval.

Comrade Kim: Philby in Moscow in 1968, five years after defecting to the USSR. (Photo: Rex Features)
William Boyd on Kim Philby: how did a privileged young Englishman become a national traitor?
By William Boyd - 27 March 10:00

The story of how Philby and four other privileged young Englishmen became spies or double agents for the USSR borders on a perverse sense of national pride.

Shotgun Billy: William Burroughs posing in front of his paintings in 1987. (Photo: Getty)
Wild boys: the high lives of William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac
By Douglas Kennedy - 27 March 10:00

Sixty years on, the beats continue to exercise a formidable grip on cultural life on both sides of the Atlantic.

Kylie Minogue: “It’s not right if you’re a woman who enjoys expressing her sexuality pretending you’re not sexual”
By Jude Rogers - 27 March 10:00

Jude Rogers talks to the pop princess about gay best friends, life after breast cancer and why she spent New Year alone.

A still from a Skylanders game.
Should I be worried that my son is hooked on a game without any credible female characters?
By Belinda Parmar - 26 March 12:04

It’s tough to be “game positive” when your son is addicted to Skylanders, a game in which a mostly male cast of fantasy heroes have to smash and bash their way through a mostly male cast of fantasy baddies.