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Soaking up literary history: A book-lover’s barhopping guide

It’s fair to say I look at things through a literary prism — I’m a writer by profession and I work at a museum that honors another one. So when I set out for New York City this spring, images of chain-smoking figures hunched over ancient Underwoods in Greenwich Village walk-ups were foremost in my …

Literature

The Morphine Queen Who Defied the Nazis

Baron Heinrich von Puttkamer was dying of pneumonia. As the Prussian noble and high-ranking army officer struggled to draw his last, ragged breaths …

Women in Exile: New Books About Iranian Intellectuals

The city-state of Florence expelled Dante Alighieri in 1302, informing him that if he ever stepped foot within the city’s walls, he would be put to death. Years later, in the Canto XVII of <i>Paradiso</i>, he described the particular pain as the “bitter taste” of another man’s bread, that “Exile’s arrow” …

The Tattooist of Auschwitz - and his secret love

<b>For more than 50 years, Lale Sokolov lived with a secret - one born in the horrors of wartime Europe, in a place that witnessed some of the worst of man's inhumanity to man.</b><p>It would not be shared until he was in his 80s, thousands of miles from that place.<p>Lale had been the Tattooist of …

Books You Should Read Before the Movies Come Out

Coming soon to theaters (and bookshelves) near you.<p>You’ve heard it. We’ve all heard it: “The book was so much better than the movie. You have to read …

Charting Literary Greatness With Jane Austen

In my work life, I edit articles for The Upshot, which takes a data-driven approach to the news. But my secret life, for several years now, has been devoted to researching and writing a novel about Jane Austen and time travel. So when the Books desk wondered if The Upshot might want to contribute …

Books: New and noteworthy

USA TODAY’s Jocelyn McClurg scopes out the hottest books on sale each week.<p><b>1. House of Spies</b> by Daniel Silva (Harper, fiction, on sale July 11)<p><b>What it’s about:</b> In this sequel to the No. 1 USA TODAY best seller <i>The Black Widow</i>, art restorer/spy Gabriel Allon continues the hunt for ISIS terrorist …

If you only read one book this summer … make it this one

If our 2017 holiday reading list was too long for you, here are some suggestions, from beach reads to history, science to sci-fi<p><b>Literary page turner</b><b><br>The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead</b> (Fleet)<br>Both harrowing and thrilling, this is a genre-bending tour de force in which the abolitionist …

Books

21 Crime Novels That Will Definitely Turn You Into Sherlock Holmes

Will you be able to get to the bottom of these?<p><i>Note: Entries have been edited for clarity and length.</i>

Critical Response | Roundtable

When Ernest Hemingway shared with Max Eastman his guilt over ogling the girls in the dance halls of Paris, admitting that he always came home from …

Literature

The Lighter Side of Sylvia Plath

There’s a photograph of Sylvia Plath taken in 1954 on the beach. She’s wearing a white swimsuit and shorts. Her hair is lustrously blonde. She’s propped up on her elbows, her tan legs stretching out behind her, smiling face craning forward—coquettishly?—toward the camera. If you glance at this …

Top 10 Shakespearean stories in modern fiction

Countless books have the Bard’s dramas at their core. From Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk to Withnail and I, here are some of the best<p>Some years ago, I went to see a production of King Lear and read a theory in the programme that he married twice. Regan and Goneril were the children of his first marriage …

Where memory leads: Saul Friedländer on the Holocaust, history and Trump

With the US following Europe and Israel in lurching to the right, the Pulitzer-winning author of Nazi Germany and the Jews is ready to turn back to literature<p>“I should have been a literary person,” says Saul Friedländer, the Pulitzer-winning historian of the Holocaust. “My love is …

The World War One soldiers who came back from the dead

<b>Households in World War One would await the telegraph boy's knock with a cold fear. Worlds were ripped apart with a few brief words announcing a serviceman's death, with follow-up letters from commanding officers rarely filling in enough of the blanks. But some families went through needless</b> …

Yokohama: Edible history

If Willy Wonka had been Japanese, and his sweet tooth had instead been an obsession with instant ramen, his mad and marvellous factory could have …

The Cultural Revolution: all you need to know about China's political convulsion

Fifty years ago one of the bloodiest eras in Chinese history began, in which as many as two million people died. But who started it and what was it for?<p>The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was a decade-long period of political and social chaos caused by Mao Zedong’s bid to use the Chinese …

Shakespeare died 400 years ago today — here are 21 everyday phrases he coined

William Shakespeare wrote a lot of great plays, but he also coined and popularized a lot of words and phrases that we still use to this day.<p>We put together a list of our 21 favorites. Check them out:

Literature

The secret connection between Cervantes and Shakespeare

As if neither man wanted to live in a world without the other, Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare died on the same date in 1616.<p>Or not exactly. They didn't actually succumb on the same <i>day</i>. Shakespeare and Cervantes probably died or were buried almost a fortnight apart, mostly because …

Thomas Jefferson: Pragmatist or Visionary?

How should we view Thomas Jefferson? Colin Bonwick offers his assessment of the man as America's third president, party leader and Enlightenment …

How to Be Charming: 2 Secrets Backed by Research

Want to know how to be charming? Ask yourself: What do you want in any friend or partner?<p>Someone who is happy for you, wants the best for you and …

Self-help

17 Inspirational New Year's Reads For The Self-Help Skeptic

Any book can be a self-help book!<p>A new year, a new you! Right? It's tough to keep those New Year's resolutions, though, and a little guidance or inspiration never hurts. The right book means you're never going it alone with your plan to be more generous with your time, to commit to hitting the gym, …

Women Who Changed Fashion: The Designers

Celebrating the ladies who left their mark on the fashion industry.<p>Designers are the celebrities of the fashion industry. They channel their visions into namesake lines, revive old houses, and build total lifestyle brands. From Jeanne Lanvin, who began her empire as an entrepreneur before the 19th …

Coco Chanel

The 25 greatest British novels

BBC Culture contributor Jane Ciabattari polled 82 book critics from outside the UK, to pick Britain’s best novels ever – this is what some had to say about the top choices.<p>What are the greatest British novels ever written? In search of a collective critical assessment, BBC Culture contributor Jane …

Aamir Khan has cheated fans and let down India

OPEN TO OPINION<p><b>English</b> | Bangla<p>His 'intolerance' jibe can be easily interpreted as a substandard act of playing victimhood.<p>POLITICS<p>| 4-minute read | …

Bollywood

Guardian readers' comfort library

William Gibson,Raymond Chandler,Ernest Hemingway,Charles Dickens,Susan Hill,Jane Austen,WG Sebald,JRR Tolkien,Culture,John le Carré,Libraries,Fiction,JD Salinger,Patrick O'Brian,Georges Simenon,John Wyndham,Books,John Steinbeck,Graham Greene,Harry Potter,Iain Banks,William Shakespeare,Sylvia …

The Inscrutable Madame Roland's Remarkable Prison Memoir

By Max Nelson November 17, 2015<p>Prison Lit<p><i>Before she was guillotined, the inscrutable Madame Roland wrote a remarkable memoir.</i><p>A portait of Madame Roland from <i>Coiffure 1er Republique</i>, a compendium of historical French hairstyles<p><i>Max Nelson is writing a series on prison literature. Read the previous</i> …

Reham Khan: ‘Marrying Imran Khan meant everyone in Pakistan got involved in my private affairs’

Life as a political wife came with plenty of compromise and strain for journalist Reham Khan. She explains how the hate campaign put an end to her 10-month marriage to a man idolised by millions<p>When the news of my marriage to Imran Khan, Pakistan’s cricket star turned politician, broke in January …

Why the Romantics Matter by Peter Gay, review: 'fluent authority'

Peter Gay’s exploration of Romanticism and its legacy is erudite and idiosyncratic<p>This little book appears in the Yale Why X Matters series, a useful counterpart to such British imprints as the Oxford Very Short Introductions or (going back a few years) the Fontana Modern Masters and Oxford Past …

My History: A Memoir of Growing Up review – Antonia Fraser’s disappointing account of her early years

The historian and novelist’s latest memoir is dull, snobbish and lacking in self-awareness<p>In 1950, when she was 17, Antonia Fraser agreed to go to Oxford to help her mother, Elizabeth Longford, in her campaign to be elected a Labour MP in the city. She was delighted to do this, not because she was …