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Dazzling in the desert: Dubai skyline. Photo: Getty
Lost in Dubai: Joseph O’Neill’s Booker Prize-longlisted new novel
By Leo Robson - 29 August 16:22

Although the book has no plot to speak of, it keeps extending false hope, writes Leo Robson.

Funny business: the novelist Miriam Toews. Photo: Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty
Funny, defiant and furious: the tangled tale of two sisters
By Jane Shilling - 29 August 16:08

In Miram Toews’s new novel, the ability of literature to act as an antidote to despair is tested to the limit.

August tale: the emperor's story sheds light on our lives and those of ancient others
The thinker’s dictator: Emperor Augustus makes for thrilling fiction
By John Gray - 29 August 15:55

With consummate skill and subtlety John Williams not only brings Ancient Rome and the founder of its empire alive, but also shows how this alien world can illuminate our lives today.

Miranda July.
Miranda July’s new app Somebody delivers text messages in person
By Philip Maughan - 29 August 12:42

“Every relationship becomes a three-way,” July says of the new app, which launched yesterday at the Venice Film Festival.

Ringo was the top bandmate with the other Beatles. Photo: Terry O'Neill/Getty Images
Battle of the Beatles: who was the fabbest of the four?
By New Statesman - 29 August 12:13

Four leading figures make their cases for Paul, John, George or Ringo respectively. 

Image: Jean-Pierre Degas/Hemis/Corbis
Class, commerce and pop: what the Beatles mean today
By New Statesman - 29 August 11:37

A band like the Beatles could never make it as big as they did in our era of hyper-commercialisation and Brit School elitism. 

In the Frame: The Last Resort
By Tom Humberstone - 29 August 10:19

Tom Humberstone’s weekly comic.

Original sin: a plate of Pierre Hermé macaroons in Paris. Photo: Getty
Tracey Thorn: The kids protest but sugary treats are an ever stickier issue
By Tracey Thorn - 29 August 10:00

The low-fat yoghurts I shovel down my neck and the smoothies I’ve been promoting to my vegetable-allergic teenage son might just as well have been crystal meth.

Eva Green.
Beaten to a pulp: Why the hyper-stylised Sin City is in need of Raymond Chandler
By Ryan Gilbey - 29 August 10:00

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For imagines what 1940s cinema might have looked like with GCI and no Hayes Code - but it falls short of that era’s crackling dialogue, smoky characters and emotional pull.

SS officers including former Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss (second from left) relax at Solahütte, a resort near the concentration camp, 1944. Photo: courtesy US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Too much information: how scientists and historians captured the brains of Amis and McEwan
By Leo Robson - 28 August 16:22

Novels by both authors seems to be creaking under the burden of researched fact and rehearsed message, but there was a time when their impulses flowed in the opposite direction.

Opulent: staff at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai
Don’t blame it on the bellboy: how India does hotels
By Rachel Cooke - 28 August 12:07

The Taj Mahal Palace, which looks like the bastard child of Sandringham and St Pancras Station, is India’s biggest and most epically decadent hotel. 

Larkin and his close companion Monica Jones at John Betjeman’s funeral, 1984. Photo: Getty
A life more ordinary: salvaging Philip Larkin’s reputation
By Erica Wagner - 28 August 10:04

A painstakingly diligent new biography leaves Erica Wagner feeling relieved that the poet’s pornography collection is “almost entirely lost”.

Screams like teen spirit: girls go wild at a Beatles concert, Christmas 1963. Photo: Sharok Hatami/Rex
Forty pairs of abandoned knickers: Maureen Lipman on the Fab Four in Hull
By Maureen Lipman - 28 August 10:00

In the second half, John Lennon stepped forward to the mike, thighs straining against his shiny and confining suit. He shook his locks, lowered his eyes and let me have it.

British Voluntary Aid ambulance drivers at front. Image: www.gwpda.org/photos
Women volunteers were first to the war zone in 1914
By Toby Thacker - 28 August 9:28

While many of the men men who volunteered faced months, even years, of training and waiting for uniforms and weapons, the women who volunteered as nurses, or “dressers” in August 1914 were in the war zone within weeks.

A street cafe in Paris, c.1929. Photo: Getty
Wouldn’t be seen dead there: what our choice of café says about us
By Oliver Farry - 28 August 9:04

In a densely populated city, the café or the neighbourhood bar is effectively an extension of home. The ones we choose are the most basic manifestation of our social self-conception.

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