• The Drama Teacher by Koren Zailckas, book review - An intriguing take on the domestic noir genre
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    The Independent

    The Drama Teacher by Koren Zailckas, book review - An intriguing take on the domestic noir genre

    Koren Zailckas’s new novel, The Drama Teacher, is an intriguing take on the domestic noir genre that’s flourished in recent years. What sets it apart from its predecessors though is a simple twist: Zailckas’s titular protagonist isn’t the passive victim, taken in by a seemingly charming husband who eventually turns out to be some kind of criminal mastermind; she’s the seasoned grifter, setting the traps that ensnare others.

  • Omarosa 'Unhinged' book review: In this inflated, bizarre and horrifying book, Trump's presidency might have found its ultimate document
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    The Independent

    Omarosa 'Unhinged' book review: In this inflated, bizarre and horrifying book, Trump's presidency might have found its ultimate document

    Unhinged by Omarosa hopes to offer “an insider’s account of the Trump white house”, according to its subtitle. As a book, it is exaggerated, dramatic, sometimes given to outright lies and never fails to be entertaining even in its abject horror – which is to say it could be the ultimate document of the Trump presidency. The facts as we know them are this: Trump first met Omarosa when she was a contestant on The Apprentice and since then they have had a rocky relationship, which continued into a job at the White House.

  • Who was the real Lorax? Seeking the inspiration for Dr Seuss
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    The Independent

    Who was the real Lorax? Seeking the inspiration for Dr Seuss

    In 1970, millions of people observed Earth Day for the first time, and the Environmental Protection Agency was born. At his wife’s suggestion to clear his mind, they travelled to the Mount Kenya Safari Club, an exclusive resort where guests watched animals along Kenya’s Laikipia plateau. It was Dr Seuss’s favourite book and one that was much discussed for its environmental resonance.

  • Trainspotting at 25: How Irvine Welsh's debut novel brought Edinburgh’s sleazy, violent drug culture to vivid life
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    The Independent

    Trainspotting at 25: How Irvine Welsh's debut novel brought Edinburgh’s sleazy, violent drug culture to vivid life

    Trainspotting’s collection of stories-connected-by-characters, which detailed the degradations enjoyed by Mark “Rent Boy” Renton, Simon “Sick Boy” Williamson and Daniel “Spud” Murphy, with brutal contributions from Francis “Franco” Begbie, is now a quarter of a century old. It inspired an era-defining film and is written in an Edinburgh dialect so thick that it is at first as impenetrable as the “Nadsat” that Alex and his droogs speak in Burgess’s masterpiece. All of Welsh’s psychic children turned out to be bastards.

  • The Book List: The fake titles Charles Dickens used to decorate his library
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    The Independent

    The Book List: The fake titles Charles Dickens used to decorate his library

    Five Minutes in China Forty Winks at the Pyramids​ Abernethy on the Constitution A Carpenter’s Bench of Bishops Toot’s Universal Letter-Writer Orson’s Art of Etiquette​ Downeaster’s Complete Calculator History of the Middling Ages Jonah’s Account of the Whale Captain Parry’s Virtues of Cold Tar Kant’s Ancient Humbugs​ Bowwowdom. A Poem The Quarrelly Review The Gunpowder Magazine Steele. ...

  • Punctuation Without Tears by Dominic Selwood, book review: Puts simplicity and fun back into good writing
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    The Independent

    Punctuation Without Tears by Dominic Selwood, book review: Puts simplicity and fun back into good writing

    Selwood begins by repunctuating Shakespeare, then invites you to do the same. English teachers of a certain sort – mainly retired now – will not be amused. The fact is that most people who try to follow the old rules have some degree of punctuation anxiety.

  • Judas: How a sister's betrayal brought down a criminal mastermind and caused a murderous family feud that has gripped a nation
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    The Independent

    Judas: How a sister's betrayal brought down a criminal mastermind and caused a murderous family feud that has gripped a nation

    Astrid Holleeder is a household name here in the Netherlands. Holleeder’s memoir, Judas: How a Sister’s Testimony Brought Down a Criminal Mastermind, has just been released in the United States and Britain. It tells the story of her life as an unwilling confidante to her brother, Willem Holleeder, a notorious Dutch crime boss, with flashbacks to their childhood in a home with an alcoholic and abusive father.

  • Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller, book review: 'Perfect heatwave reading'
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    The Independent

    Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller, book review: 'Perfect heatwave reading'

    Bitter Orange, Claire Fuller’s heady, claustrophobic third novel, makes for perfect heatwave reading. Frances, the story’s narrator is an elderly woman. Lying in her sickbed, her mind is wandering: “My wasting disease has eaten away more than flesh: it has taken any memory of last week as well as the names and titles I was told about an hour ago,” she bemoans, “but it is kind enough to leave the summer of 1969 intact.”

  • From Hemingway to HG Wells: The books banned and burnt by the Nazis
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    The Independent

    From Hemingway to HG Wells: The books banned and burnt by the Nazis

    A Farewell to Arms by Ernest HemingwayHow I Became a Socialist by Helen KellerThe Iron Heel, The Jacket and Martin Eden by Jack LondonDeutsche Ansprache: ein Appell an die Vernunft (An Appeal to Reason) by Thomas MannAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueThe Outline of History by HG Wells Monographs about Marc Chagall and Paul Klee All works published before 1933 by Sigmund Freud, Bertolt Brecht, Stefan Zweig, John Dos Passos and thousands of others

  • Thomas Page McBee interview: The first trans man to box at Madison Square Garden talks gender anxiety, transitioning and toxic masculinity
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    The Independent

    Thomas Page McBee interview: The first trans man to box at Madison Square Garden talks gender anxiety, transitioning and toxic masculinity

    Thomas Page McBee, who at 5’6” is neither the tallest man in New York nor the toughest, nevertheless found himself increasingly wanting to learn what it was that made men the way they are, and why they always seemed so ready to fight. “I was experiencing a lot of toxic masculinity,” he tells me. Early on in his new memoir, Amateur, he recounts a near altercation with a man on a New York street who took umbrage with him for little discernible reason.

  • Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott, book review: An engrossing literary thriller
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    The Independent

    Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott, book review: An engrossing literary thriller

    “Did someone do something to you?” Kit asks her friend Diane in the first chapter of Megan Abbott’s new novel, Give Me Your Hand. Does she think this could actually happen in real life, Diane asks Kit? Yes, Kit replies without hesitation, but then she’s scared.

  • The Book List: What do astronauts read on the International Space Station?
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    The Independent

    The Book List: What do astronauts read on the International Space Station?

    Canals in the Sand by Kevin J AndersonA Spell for Chameleon by Piers AnthonyThe Source of Magic by Piers AnthonyKey to Havoc by Piers AnthonyThe Moon’s Shadow by Catherine AsaroA Roll of the Dice by Catherine AsaroFoundation and Empire by Isaac AsimovAlien Infection by Darrell BainA Strange Valley by Darrell BainDarwin’s Radio by Greg BearThe Holy Road by Michael BlakeThe Americans: The National Experience by Daniel J BoorstinThe Americans: The Democratic Experience by Daniel J BoorstinThe Americans: The Colonial Experience by Daniel J BoorstinTanequil by Terry Brooks

  • As Love Island comes to an end, fill the hole with these five books on Buddhist philosophy
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    The Independent

    As Love Island comes to an end, fill the hole with these five books on Buddhist philosophy

    Philosopher and general Zen master Alan Watts can take a long and indulgent bow (not that this would be very Zen) for having introduced Eastern philosophy to a Western audience. Written in 1957, The Way of Zen is a good starting point for Zen Buddhism, covering both history and practice, and outlining concepts like wuwei, The Middle Way and anatman. This delightful little novella centres on 'a directionless young man who has found himself on a month-long Zen Buddhist retreat'.

  • Notes to Self: Essays by Emilie Pine, review: Messy raw experience is transformed into meaningful, honed prose
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    The Independent

    Notes to Self: Essays by Emilie Pine, review: Messy raw experience is transformed into meaningful, honed prose

    Irish academic Emilie Pine’s probing essay collection Notes to Self is the small, independent Dublin-based publisher Tramp Press’s first foray into non-fiction. It’s easy to see how Pine’s voice tempted them to try something new though. “By the time we find him,” begins the first piece, “he has been lying in a small pool of his own shit for several hours.” The collection’s tone is set here in this first essay, Pine’s committed to exposing the blood and guts of life and death.

  • The Book List: The titles in ex-Talking Head David Byrne's private library
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    The Independent

    The Book List: The titles in ex-Talking Head David Byrne's private library

    Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship by Idelber Avelar and Christopher Dunn Botsford Collection of Folk Songs Volumes 1 and 2 by Florence Hudson Botsford Bourbon Street Black: The New Orleans Black Jazzman by Jack V Buerkle and Danny Barker Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music that Seduced the World by Ruy Castro Brutality Garden: Tropicalla and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture by Christopher Dunn But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz by Geoff Dyer Black Rhythms of Peru: Reviving African Musical Heritage in the Black Pacific by Heidi Carolyn ...

  • Clock Dance by Anne Tyler, review: Less nuanced than her best work, but you still root for Tyler's heroine
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    The Independent

    Clock Dance by Anne Tyler, review: Less nuanced than her best work, but you still root for Tyler's heroine

    There’s no disputing Anne Tyler’s talents: she’s the author of a host of bestselling novels, is considered one of, if not the pre-eminent chronicler of American domestic life, and has garnered a host of critical acclaim along the way. Her 1989 novel Breathing Lessons won the Pulitzer Prize, and A Spool of Blue Thread, which elegantly charted three generations of family life, was shortlisted for both the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the 2015 Man Booker Prize.

  • The Human Library: where the 'books' tell their own stories
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    The Independent

    The Human Library: where the 'books' tell their own stories

    If not, then keep an eye out for your nearest Human Library. At a Human Library event, the “books” are people with special experiences – “readers” can choose from various “titles” (this list is the Human Library UK’s suggestion of 40 from which a dozen or so would make a good stock), and then “borrow” them. According to the Human Library UK: “The titles celebrate diversity and promote equality by deliberately acknowledging differences, lifestyles, ethnicities, faiths, disabilities, abilities and characteristics that may be stigmatised in the hope it might provoke an assumption or even prejudice in readers.

  • 10 best colouring books for kids
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    The Independent

    10 best colouring books for kids

    With the school holidays fast approaching, parents across the land will be in pursuit of boredom-busting activities for long car journeys, longer waits at airports and rainy days in caravans. This fun-packed book for children of about three to five is essentially a black-and-white version of Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart’s bestseller You Choose. Comes complete with 60 stickers with which to embellish the pages once coloured.

  • Days of Awe by AM Homes, review: Short stories as sharp-edged as broken glass
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    The Independent

    Days of Awe by AM Homes, review: Short stories as sharp-edged as broken glass

    “I’d say the purpose of fiction is to illustrate and illuminate,” says the writer protagonist of "Days of Awe", the short story from which AM Homes’ new collection takes its title. It’s a question Homes has surely been asked herself.

  • 9 best academic year diaries
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    The Independent

    9 best academic year diaries

    Here, we’ve gathered together a range of top notch academic diaries to help with that task. Some want a compact option to shove into a small bag, and some a hefty desk diary in which to record all the details of their busy lives. Available in a range of bold colours and customisable with pen loops, elastics and embossed silver text, they include an at at-a-glance year planner and pages for notes, contacts and timetables.

  • The Book List: US Light House Establishment Library Box 141
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    The Independent

    The Book List: US Light House Establishment Library Box 141

    The Reflections of a Lonely Man by ACM Pictures Every Child Should Know: A Selection of the World’s Art Masterpieces for Young People by Dolores Bacon Farm Festivals by Will Carleton Farm Ballads by Will Carleton Farm Legends by Will Carleton City Festivals by Will Carleton My Apingi Kingdom: With Life in the Great Sahara, and Sketches of the Chase by Paul Belloni du Chaillu The Pilot: A Tale of the Sea by James Fenimore Cooper Sailors’ Knots by Cyrus Lawrence Day Tuscan Republics by Bella Duffy Madame Therese by Emile Erckmann and Alexandre Chatrian Hoosier Lyrics by Eugene Field British ...

  • The best children's and young adult books of 2018 (so far)
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    The Telegraph

    The best children's and young adult books of 2018 (so far)

    The best children's and young adult books of 2018 (so far)

  • Calypso by David Sedaris, review: Spins hilarious, moving narratives out of everyday existence
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    The Independent

    Calypso by David Sedaris, review: Spins hilarious, moving narratives out of everyday existence

    All this and more can be found in his latest collection, Calypso. Sedaris’s genius is that he spins narrative — and not just any old narrative, which in itself is an achievement, but narrative that’s in turn both hilarious and moving — out of his ordinary everyday existence. Then there are his accounts of holidays with his family.

  • NeRD: The super secure e-reader designed for US navy submarines
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    The Independent

    NeRD: The super secure e-reader designed for US navy submarines

    Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe Bossypants by Tina Fey The Odyssey by Homer The Stand by Stephen King Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin 1776 by David McCullough The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack by Rebecca Skloot The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien The King James Bible The Quran (Koran) The Book of Mormon Most of the 18 titles in ...