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From Poland to Istanbul, take a trip with this week's recommended reads

New books from Elif Shafak, Rory MacLean and Howard Jacobson.

Three Daughters of Eve

Elif Shafak

The three daughters in Elif Shakaf’s latest book are Shirin, Peri and Mona, “the Sinner, the Believer and the Confused”. Shafak has never been one to shy away from sensitive topics (The Bastard of Istanbul led to her being put on trial in 2006 for “insulting Turkishness”), and this story, set between modern Istanbul and the Oxford of the women’s student days, examines faith by way of friendship, Islam, feminism and scandal. This may be a novel of ideas, but Shafak’s evocative prose makes it a novel first and foremost.

Viking, 367pp, £14.99

 

Pictures of You: Ten Journeys in Time

Rory MacLean

The Archive of Modern Conflict is a mysterious organisation based in west London that holds an archive of about four million, mostly amateur photographs on the theme of war. MacLean has chosen one archived picture from each decade of the 20th century and imagines the stories behind them. He recounts, among others, the inner life of one of Mao Zedong’s lovers, the kill record of a game hunter during the First World War, and the last thoughts of a Polish pilot burning in the wreckage of his downed plane. This a poignant sort-of history of undocumented lives.

Bone Idle, 192pp, £12/$20

 

The Dog’s Last Walk (and Other Pieces)

Howard Jacobson

The closure of the Independent last year also brought the end of Howard Jacobson’s 18-year stint as a weekly columnist. This second collection of his newspaper pieces is a reminder of just how good they were: sharp and playful, surreal and thoughtful, and occasionally, as in the opening description of an old Labrador and its owner, rather moving. Ageing, emojis, anti-Semitism and the “erotic gravitas of George Galloway” all get a look-in. Thankfully, Jacobson hasn’t lost his topical touch – his satirical novella about Donald Trump, Pussy, will be coming out in April.

Bloomsbury, 287pp, £18.99

This article first appeared in the 16 February 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The New Times

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SRSLY #83: The Awards Special 2017

On the pop culture podcast this week: all the action from the Oscars, plus our own personal awards.

This is SRSLY, the pop culture podcast from the New Statesman. Here, you can find links to all the things we talk about in the show as well as a bit more detail about who we are and where else you can find us online.

Listen using the player below. . .

. . .or subscribe in iTunes. We’re also on StitcherRSS and SoundCloud – but if you use a podcast app that we’re not appearing in, let us know.

SRSLY is hosted by Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz, the NS’s assistant editor and editorial assistant. We’re on Twitter as @c_crampton and @annaleszkie, where between us we post a heady mixture of Serious Journalism, excellent gifs and regularly ask questions J K Rowling needs to answer.

The Links

Get on the waiting list for our Harry Potter quiz here and take part in our survey here.

Anna's report on the Oscars.

Our episodes about Oscar-nominated films La La Land, Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Lion and Jackie.

For next time:

Caroline is watching MTV’s Sweet/Vicious.

If you’d like to talk to us about the podcast or make a suggestion for something we should read or cover, you can email srslypod[at]gmail.com.

You can also find us on Twitter @srslypod, or send us your thoughts on tumblr here. If you like the podcast, we’d love you to leave a review on iTunes - this helps other people come across it.

We love reading out your emails. If you have thoughts you want to share on anything we’ve discussed, or questions you want to ask us, please email us on srslypod[at]gmail.com, or @ us on Twitter @srslypod, or get in touch via tumblr here. We also have Facebook now.

Our theme music is “Guatemala - Panama March” (by Heftone Banjo Orchestra), licensed under Creative Commons. 

See you next week!

PS If you missed #81, check it out here.