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A girl reads atop a stack of books. Photo: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
“She blinded me with library science”: why the Feminist Library is more vital than ever
By Stephanie Boland - 26 February 11:10

Despite scant funding and resources, London’s Feminist Library is turning their 40th year into a celebration of storytelling, history – and, hopefully, sofas.

Vegetables. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images
Han Kang's The Vegetarian: the failures of language and the mysteries of the physical
By Joanna Walsh - 26 February 11:03

Comparable to Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener” to Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist”, The Vegetarian ties social refusal to sexual protest.

The kids will be alright. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Raising hell: what do we mean by family values in the twenty-first century?
By Melissa Benn - 26 February 10:54

Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift's Family Values: the Ethics of Parent-Child Relationships, and Tanith Carey's Taming the Tiger Parent.

Amateur hour: Una Stubbs and a contestant.
A brush with boredom: The Big Painting Challenge wants to do for easels what Bake Off did for whisks
By Rachel Cooke - 26 February 10:49

Plus Suffragettes Forever! – a good series let down by its tone and speed.

An LED screen displayed the word "Labour". Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Will we ever see a Thatcher of the left? Peter Hain and Will Hutton on Labour’s potential for reform
By George Eaton - 26 February 10:29

In new books, both Hain and Hutton recognise Labour as the only vehicle for reform – but what kind will emerge remains to be seen.

Bundles of rare delight: the flavours of dim sum in Shanghai are unlike anything you’ll discover at your local. Photo: ROB HOWARD/CORBIS
Snow fungus and braised frog: in search of real Chinese food
By Felicity Cloake - 26 February 10:22

If you know where to look, you can get a long way from virulent orange sauce and “chips, not rice”.

Turner’s Fighting Temeraire (1839). Photo: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images
What the strikes at the National Gallery tell us about Britain
By Tom Overton - 25 February 11:30

The National Gallery is a kind of visual phrasebook articulating awkward truths about our civic life.

Fifteen years on, Radiohead's Kid A is the best evocation of the failures of New Labour
By Max Harris - 24 February 12:01

Fifteen years after Kid A, Max Harris looks back on a record that serves as a searing critique of the New Labour years

Neil Gaiman. Photo: Rex Features
Distraction techniques: Neil Gaiman’s new book proves you can’t read a short story online
By Frank Cottrell Boyce - 24 February 9:25

Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances reminds us that stories demand all our attention.

Critical Distance: This Week in Videogame Blogging #7
By Critical Distance - 23 February 15:19

Ableism in horror games.

The Oscars 2015: the full list of winners
By Anna Leszkiewicz - 23 February 10:43

And the Oscar goes to...

Julie Walters at the Royal Festival Hall, London in 2010. Photo: Richard Saker/Rex
Julie Walters: “I don’t think I’m posh enough to be a dame”
By Mark Lawson - 19 February 17:42

The actress on work, travel – and why she'd be perfectly happy growing tomatoes. 

The satellite television channel that also helps make up BBC Arabic. Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages
1,001 Days and Nights: radio proves pivotal as BBC Arabic turns 77
By Antonia Quirke - 19 February 17:15

It broadcasts 24 hours a day from Morocco to Iran - but how does one explain BBC Arabic radio?

A spa treatment room. Photo: Merlin resort, Thailand/Flickr
Tracey Thorn: I know just how uptight I am when I find myself at a spa and unable to chill
By Tracey Thorn - 19 February 17:05

I envy calm people for their apparent immunity to overexcitement or overreaction.

Village people: Michael Gambon in The Casual Vacancy.
From Pagford to the Punjab: Sunday night rivals The Casual Vacancy and Indian Summers both fall short
By Rachel Cooke - 19 February 16:52

J K Rowling adaptation The Casual Vacancy and Channel 4's Indian Summers lack something for our critic.

James MacMillan in action.
Conjuring sound: James MacMillan conducts a retrospective of his own works
By Caroline Crampton - 19 February 16:27

Appearing at the Barbican with the BBC Singers and London Sinfonietta, the composer's hands seem to shape music out of thin air.

Barbara Hepworth’s Reconstruction (1947). © BOWNESS, HEPWORTH ESTATE.
Britain can’t make it: a Hayward Gallery exhibition struggles to make sense of the past
By Michael Prodger - 19 February 12:34

History Is Now: 7 Artists Take on Britain is a confused hotch-potch of ideas.

Civil war re-enactors at Gettysburg. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
Laird Hunt's Neverhome: the civil war isn’t just something in America’s past
By Erica Wagner - 19 February 11:59

A novel of the American Civil War that combines realism with the powerful folklore surrounding defiant women.

Outside the Strand bookstore in New York. Photo: Kathleen Tyler Conklin on Flickr via Creative Commons
The crack of the spine: why do we find wear and tear in books so comforting?
By Oliver Farry - 19 February 9:42

Objects that feel lived in give us a comforting feeling of having come a long way, of having been through the years and having done some hard work to get there.

Elephants on the move. Photo: Michael Lorentz/AFP/Getty Images
“18”: a poem by Iain Banks
By Iain Banks - 19 February 9:25

A work by the late author.

Anne Tyler. Photo: Clara Molden/Camera Press
Generation game: can novelist Anne Tyler save the modern saga?
By Leo Robson - 18 February 15:51

Conceived by Zola and sullied by Jonathan Franzen, the modern saga is in poor health. But Anne Tyler might be its saviour.

God’s houses: arboretums recall the architectural grandeur of churches. Photo: Mike Vardy/Science Photo Library
Botanical gardens are the cathedrals of our times
By John Burnside - 18 February 10:20

In the bleak midwinter, there are few walks more energising.

"Let's go with Labour" (1964). Photo: People's History Museum
The People’s History Museum in Manchester is the most forthright museum I’ve ever visited
By Stephanie Boland - 17 February 12:02

A new exhibition, Election! Britain Votes, at the People’s History Museum in Manchester explores the nature of democracy in a candid and sincere fashion that is far removed from the complacency we often get when museums try and do politics.

Pablo Larrain with the silver bear for The Club. Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty
Wayward priests and sexual neuroses: highlights from the Berlin Film Festival
By Ryan Gilbey - 17 February 12:00

There was far more to the festival than Fifty Shades.

Time regained: a panel from Richard McGuire's haunting graphic novel Here.
Substance abuse: How form meets content in three new graphic novels
By Yo Zushi - 17 February 10:31

Scott McCloud's The Sculptor, Richard McGuire's Here and Joe Sacco's Bumf.

Cardboard Computer's Kentucky Route Zero.
Critical Distance: This Week in Videogame Blogging #6
By Critical Distance - 16 February 15:52

Game cinematography and the player as director.

The Berlin film festival.
Genau or never: Timelines and plotlines alike confuse at the Berlin Film Festival
By Ryan Gilbey - 16 February 9:42

Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups is insipid – but Andrew Heigh's 45 Years proves it's not all bad. 

Actors Jamie Dornan (L) and Dakota Johnson attend the "50 Shades Of Grey" New York Fan First screening at Ziegfeld Theatre on 6 February 2015 in New York City. Photo: Getty Images
50 Shades of Grey: a film about male power, idealising emotional abuse as sexy when it isn't
By Zoe Margolis - 13 February 17:41

All good relationships are built on respect, trust and consent - and the one at the centre of this film contains none of that.

Tick-tock-box politics: Big Ben gets cleaned
Slimeballs and sleeping bags: BBC2's Inside the Commons
By Rachel Cooke - 13 February 11:44

In Parliament, deals are being cut everywhere. Some are gruesome, others merely farcical.

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