In Wychwood, a great house in Oxfordshire, the wealthy build walls around themselves to keep out ugliness, poverty, political change. Or at least they try to.
Manet and Degas, Matisse and Picasso – The Art of Rivalry by Sebastian Smee reminds us that who we meet can change who we are.
New books Future Sex and The Selfishness of Others explore what it means to live in our current moment.
The clash of wills behind 2001: a Space Odyssey reminds me that scientific education, not mystery, was always closest to my friend's heart.
Lay Down Your Weary Tune by W B Belcher reminds us what a good setting the folk scene can be – and what rich characters you can place in it.
On the pop culture podcast this week: we pick our TV and film highlights for the coming year, review the first episode of series 4 of Sherlock, and enjoy Sara Taylor’s short story collection The Shore.
Hope and terror on a winter walk.
Vulgar Tongues: an Alternative History of English Slang gathers material from a mind-boggling range of sources – but still leaves you wanting more.
How we think about the natural world matters – which is why the rich metaphors in The Hidden Life of Trees are so important.
Immigration presents us with a moral and political quandary. Can two new books help us decide what to do?
Solomon’s gifts are so wide-ranging it can be hard not to believe he comes from an earlier century.
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