• 16 best non-fiction books of 2018
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    The Independent

    16 best non-fiction books of 2018

    Choosing books is highly subjective, but we reckon that there’s something here for everyone. War correspondent Marie Colvin was the journalist every news reporter looked up to. The title of this superb and moving memoir, written by her friend and fellow foreign correspondent Lindsey Hilsum, is taken from one of Colvin’s own Sunday Times dispatches.

  • 26 best calendars and wall planners for 2019
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    The Independent

    26 best calendars and wall planners for 2019

    Whether you’re searching for a quirky, colourful wall calendar, or a serious thought-provoking desk-planner, we’ve found a selection to suit everyone. “Marry someone who complements your soul,” is just one of the R.H.Sin poems in this sophisticated cloth-bound daily desk calendar. The black cover wraps around to form an easel-like stand and each page is perforated for easy removal (although the poems are so beautiful our tester wanted to keep them).

  • If you think you know who composer Philip Glass is, you probably don't
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    The Independent

    If you think you know who composer Philip Glass is, you probably don't

    Philip Glass is hard to pin down. If you think you know who Philip Glass is, you probably don’t. To some, he’s Einstein on the Beach, the breakout avant-garde opera he created with director Robert Wilson in 1976.

  • YouTube Rewind 2018 becomes website's second most disliked video of all time after Justin Bieber
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    The Independent

    YouTube Rewind 2018 becomes website's second most disliked video of all time after Justin Bieber

    The second most disliked video on YouTube is now one of its own. YouTube Rewind 2018, an eight-minute clip looking back at the past 12 months, has received 7.3m dislikes since the platform released it on 6 December. It's not far behind the music video for Justin Bieber's Baby, which has been the most disliked clip on the website for several years and currently has 9.7m thumbs down.

  • Richard Attenborough voted UK’s favourite film Santa Claus, survey reveals
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    The Independent

    Richard Attenborough voted UK’s favourite film Santa Claus, survey reveals

    Richard Attenborough’s movie portrayal of Father Christmas has been voted the nation’s favourite of all time, according to a survey.

  • Star Wars Archives: the definitive exploration of the original trilogy
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    The Independent

    Star Wars Archives: the definitive exploration of the original trilogy

    Star Wars exploded onto our cinema screens in 1977, and the world has not been the same since.

  • Kevin Hart quits as Oscars 2019 host after backlash over homophobic tweets: ‘I’m sorry I hurt people’
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    The Independent

    Kevin Hart quits as Oscars 2019 host after backlash over homophobic tweets: ‘I’m sorry I hurt people’

    Kevin Hart has stepped down as Oscars host just two days after he was named in the role, amid anger over a series of homophobic tweets. The actor and comedian said he had refused to apologise for the tweets, which were posted from 2009-2011 and have mostly been deleted, when asked to do so by the Academy Awards organisers.

  • Charles Dickens' 10 best novels ranked: The Christmas Carol author's greatest works from Bleak House to Oliver Twist
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    The Independent

    Charles Dickens' 10 best novels ranked: The Christmas Carol author's greatest works from Bleak House to Oliver Twist

    Few writers are as closely associated with the festive season as Charles Dickens. Stephen Tompkinson playing miserly moneylender Ebeneezer Scrooge at The Old Vic this year is only the latest interpretation of a character who has provided the basis for every contrite naysayer since, from George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) to Dr Seuss’s Grinch. Dickens was motivated to write his ghost story by a deeply felt outrage at the hardships of the urban poor he saw every day on the streets of Victorian London and the unfeeling avarice of the arch-capitalists of his age.

  • Winners don’t always take it all
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    The Independent

    Winners don’t always take it all

    Hills and mountains were the backdrop to many of my childhood holidays.

  • The Turner Prize in 2018 is a miserable, tedious, poker-faced display
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    The Independent

    The Turner Prize in 2018 is a miserable, tedious, poker-faced display

    Last year the 33rd manifestation of the Turner Prize hit the buffers. The Ferens itself had just been newly refurbished, and the entire institution seemed to pivot about the Turner – it has seldom felt quite so feted at its home base, Tate Britain, to which it has returned this year, even though the Stuckists seem to have lost interest in hating it so much these days. Could that be because there’s too much else that’s truly appalling happening in the shrieking rat’s nest of contemporary art?

  • 10 best diaries for 2019
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    The Independent

    10 best diaries for 2019

    Forget Google Calendar and Outlook – many of us wouldn’t dream of ditching our paper diaries for their online counterparts. From stylish, pocket-sized notebooks in jewel-like colours, to planners filled with inspiring poems, we’ve found the best 2019 diaries to guide you through the Year of the Pig.

  • Bad Sex awards: 20 of the worst shortlisted extracts from Morrissey to Stephen King
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    The Independent

    Bad Sex awards: 20 of the worst shortlisted extracts from Morrissey to Stephen King

    The Literary Review has been handing out the infamous Bad Sex in Fiction award since 1993, every year highlighting those authors behind the most “egregious passages of sexual description”. Previous nominees have included a famous horror author (Stephen King), an Oscar-nominated actor (Ethan Hawke), an Ivor Novello award winner (Nick Cave), a former Prime Ministers(Tony Blair), and – perhaps most famously of all – Morrissey. Others have been more gracious in accepting the award (Giles Coren said of winning in 2005: “I wish I’d written them all”) while some famously racy writers have never been nominated at all (EL James failed to land on the shortlist for the Fifty Shades trilogy “because the prize’s rubric explicitly excludes pornographic and erotic literature” and she “didn’t need any more publicity”).

  • The Little Drummer Girl review, episode six: A depressing and powerful conclusion
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    The Independent

    The Little Drummer Girl review, episode six: A depressing and powerful conclusion

    In last week’s episode of The Little Drummer Girl (BBC1), Commander Picton, Charles Dance’s contemptuous UK intelligence officer, recalled torturing a young Israeli man decades earlier in a failed attempt to extract information. “When I let him go,” he said, “I thought to myself, ‘God if I haven’t made a little drummer boy right here, ready to bang his gong into the next battle they find for him, I don’t know what I’ve done’.” The question heading into tonight’s final episode was this: into which battle will our little drummer girl be marching? Charlie, whose moral flip-flopping would be infuriating if it wasn’t for the warm, nuanced charisma with which Florence Pugh imbues her, is newly returned from the exhilarating hell of her Lebanese training camp.

  • Bad Sex awards: 20 of the worst shortlisted extracts from Morrissey to Stephen King
    Style
    The Independent

    Bad Sex awards: 20 of the worst shortlisted extracts from Morrissey to Stephen King

    The Literary Review has been handing out the infamous Bad Sex in Fiction award since 1993, every year highlighting those authors behind the most “egregious passages of sexual description”. Previous nominees have included a famous horror author (Stephen King), an Oscar-nominated actor (Ethan Hawke), an Ivor Novello award winner (Nick Cave), a former Prime Ministers(Tony Blair), and – perhaps most famously of all – Morrissey. Others have been more gracious in accepting the award (Giles Coren said of winning in 2005: “I wish I’d written them all”) while some famously racy writers have never been nominated at all (EL James failed to land on the shortlist for the Fifty Shades trilogy “because the prize’s rubric explicitly excludes pornographic and erotic literature” and she “didn’t need any more publicity”).

  • 30 best children’s books: From Peter Rabbit to Noughts and Crosses
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    The Independent

    30 best children’s books: From Peter Rabbit to Noughts and Crosses

    We all have cherished memories of the books we read and shared as children. Big friendly giants, honey-loving bears, hungry caterpillars, iron men: these figures populate the vivid imaginary landscapes of our childhoods. Everybody will remember the book that made them laugh and cry, the one that they turn to again and again. Like totems, we pass them on to our own children, each book a spell in itself.

  • Anna Burns: The new Booker Prize winner who may never write again
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    The Independent

    Anna Burns: The new Booker Prize winner who may never write again

    Anna Burns sounds almost giddy as we sit in a restaurant in Brighton. It’s not long since she won the Man Booker Prize for Milkman, her third novel, about an unnamed 18-year-old coerced into a relationship at the height of Northern Ireland’s Troubles. Burns suffers from “lower back and nerve pain”, she says, the result of a botched operation.

  • The best children's books of 2018
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    The Telegraph

    The best children's books of 2018

    Emily Bearn offers a selection of the best children's books and young adult fiction of the year. From rollicking adventures to charming picture-books, these are sure to keep even the most restless kids entertained

  • Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates, review: The story feels charged by the horrors of our Orwellian era
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    The Independent

    Hazards of Time Travel by Joyce Carol Oates, review: The story feels charged by the horrors of our Orwellian era

    Someone needs to check Joyce Carol Oates‘ garage for a DeLorean. Although Oates started writing it in 2011 and finished before the election of President Trump, the story feels charged by the horrors of our Orwellian era. In this case, Oates has recast our present moment as “an Interlude of Indecisiveness”, a period of strident debate about the need for PVIWAT (Patriot Vigilance in the War Against Terror).

  • The Late Late Toy Show: How a TV special became Ireland’s greatest Christmas tradition
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    The Independent

    The Late Late Toy Show: How a TV special became Ireland’s greatest Christmas tradition

    In Ireland, it’s not the John Lewis advert or the Coca Cola bus that heralds the arrival of Christmas: it’s The Late Late Toy Show. Since its debut in 1975, the Toy Show has won a special place in Irish hearts, and a legion of viewers. Once a year, a few weeks before Christmas, it delivers a festive highlight: The Late Late Toy Show.

  • Enid Blyton 50 years on: Let’s be more critical about books venerated in the past
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    The Independent

    Enid Blyton 50 years on: Let’s be more critical about books venerated in the past

    Half a century has passed since Enid Blyton died on 28 November 1968, fading out of a world that was changing alarmingly from the sunlit chauvinism of her stories. For those who point out the sexism, racism, snobbery and xenophobia of her children’s books, a faithful chorus praise her timeless ability to captivate a young audience and instil a love of reading. With an astonishing 600 million books sold, it’s true that she was and still is much loved by children.

  • Enid Blyton: The writer's 10 finest children's books, 50 years after her death
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    The Independent

    Enid Blyton: The writer's 10 finest children's books, 50 years after her death

    Enid Blyton, the popular children’s writer, died 50 years ago this week. Taking place at the epnoymous castle atop the Cornish cliffs, the story follows Darrell Rivers, whose determination to be a model pupil and grow into “a good, sound woman the world can lean on” is undermined by her combustible temper and controversies with fellow classmates.

  • The 40 best books to read before you die, from Anna Karenina to Wolf Hall
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    The Independent

    The 40 best books to read before you die, from Anna Karenina to Wolf Hall

    Job satisfaction comes and goes, partners enrapture and abscond, but you can always fall back on the timeless ability of literature to transport you to a different world. From Jane Austen’s mannered drawing rooms to the airless tower blocks of 1984, novels do something unique.

  • Die Hard at 30: How the every-dude action movie defied expectations and turned Bruce Willis into a star
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    The Independent

    Die Hard at 30: How the every-dude action movie defied expectations and turned Bruce Willis into a star

    On 2 November 1987, Bruce Willis, having just dashed from the set of hit TV romcom Moonlighting, found himself gazing down from the roof of a five-storey parking garage on the Westside of Los Angeles. John McTiernan’s valentine to every-dude grit, pump-action one-liners and blood-stained vests would achieve more or less immediate recognition as one of the greatest action movies ever made. Along the way, Die Hard gave us one of the all-time great cinematic villains in Alan Rickman’s German terrorist Hans Gruber – the alpha and omega of the Hollywood Euro-baddie.

  • Fernand Léger: The French artist whose abstract mechanical paintings were called Tubism
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    The Independent

    Fernand Léger: The French artist whose abstract mechanical paintings were called Tubism

    Fernand Léger was different. The years between 1918 and 1923 have become known as his “mechanical period”, his work from the time reflecting an infatuation with machinery. In 1924, Léger even made his own film, Ballet Mécanique: an experimental, narrative-free piece featuring 300 shots in just 12 minutes, with pistons, carnival rides and egg whisks among the fleetingly captured subjects.

  • Chrissie Hynde, Adding the Blue: Read an exclusive extract from the artist's new book on painting
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    The Independent

    Chrissie Hynde, Adding the Blue: Read an exclusive extract from the artist's new book on painting

    I always thought I would get into painting, but I got waylaid by rock 'n' roll. And then I had children, so that was game over for me. Finally, once the girls were out of the house and I was living in a place that had a room I could use as a studio, I thought, "Now's the time." As soon as I was in a situation where I could be alone and paint without any interruptions, I just couldn't stop.