Books & Reviews

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The other side of Michelle Obama

2012-01-08 FIRST lady Michelle Obama is a behind-the-scenes force in the White House whose opinions on policy and politics drew her into conflict with presidential advisers and who bristled at some of the demands and constraints of life as the president's wife...

Sunday, 25 December 2011

In her grandfather's footsteps

2011-12-25 CHINESE-AMERICAN writer Yan Geling has written about various women with dramatic stories. Now, she has switched her subject matter to a man for Inmate Lu Yanshi. In her latest novel, Yan narrates the ups and downs of protagonist Lu Yanshi's life...

Soldier echoes Arabian Nights with Iraq novel

2011-12-25 ON Benjamin Buchholz's second day in Iraq as a US army officer, a young Iraqi girl was struck and killed by a military convoy while trying to catch a bottle of water thrown to children by the roadside as a gift.!The tragedy and its aftermath...

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Philby hailed as 'great spy' in Russia

2011-12-18 NOTORIOUS British double agent Kim Philby may be regarded as a traitor in his home country but 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union he remains a hero in Russia for divulging Western secrets.A Russian publisher has unveiled a major new...

New chapter in Asia's English writing

2011-12-18 ONE of the reasons why the otherwise peripatetic Xu Xi (pic) has been living mostly in Hong Kong for the last two years is her commitment to facilitating the rise of new writing from Asia.She helped design Asia's first low-residency master's in fine...

Fantasy writer Hoban dies

2011-12-18 RUSSELL Hoban (pic), the prolific fantasy and children's author perhaps best known for Riddley Walker, a post-apocalyptic novel that relied on a language he created, has died, his publisher said on Thursday. He was 86. The former illustrator,...

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Business as usual needs change

2011-12-11 RICHARD Branson swashbuckling billionaire entrepreneur, sportsman and activist is accustomed to speaking his mind. Ask the employees and customers of his Virgin group of more than 400 companies around the world.From records to airlines, mobile...

Gish Jen: Torchbearer of the great American novel

2011-12-11 IT'S A bit of a surprise meeting Gish Jen. One doesn't quite expect the writer to be so diminutive, almost bird-like in her demeanour, flighty, emotional and cheerful laughing and crying almost in the same breath as she talks. A little gravitas...

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Kerouac's 'lost' debut novel is published after 70 years

2011-11-27 THE American beat generation author Jack Kerouac is said to have spent just eight days on active service in the US merchant marines on board the SS Dorchester in 1942; but his short stay furnished him with notes for his first novel and, after nearly...

My name has become a brand

2011-11-27 IN THE mid-1980s John Grisham, then a small-town lawyer and disillusioned member of the Mississippi state legislature, would fill the time between meetings and court hearings writing a novel about an ambitious young lawyer embroiled in a life-or-...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Walesa's wife unveils price of Solidarity glory

2011-11-20 LECH Walesa's wife says she paid a huge price for her husband's struggle against communism. In an autobiography coming out next week, Danuta Walesa talks publicly for the first time about her loneliness and fear for the family's unity as her...

George Orwell's 'Burmese Days' opens Off-Broadway

2011-11-20 TROPICAL weather can have a desultory effect on some people, though it doesn't slow down the native conniver at the heart of George Orwell's novel Burmese Days. The personal and political intrigue between the natives of Burma (now known as Myanmar...

Sunday, 13 November 2011

A foodie in the family? There's a book for that

2011-11-13 EVERYBODY knows at least one a pretentious foodie who insists on froo-froo ingredients, laborious techniques and over-the-top dishes. Well, this year they're out of luck. Because 2011 was a year when cookbooks even those by high-end and...

A riveting bio of Catherine the Great

2011-11-13 CATHERINE the Great: Portrait of a Woman (Random House), by Robert K. Massie: Pulitzer Prize laureate Massie has written a biography of Russia's great Empress Catherine that is well, great. Massie, awarded the Pulitzer for Peter the Great, knows...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Clinton has advice, some criticism, for President Obama in new book

2011-11-06 FORMER President Bill Clinton says in a new book that last summer's political fight over raising the US debt ceiling made the nation look "weak and confused" overseas and he doesn't know why President Barack Obama didn't seek a...

Amazon introduces lending library for Kindles

2011-11-06 AMAZON.com Inc said on Thursday that it is starting a lending library for Kindle owners, letting them borrow one electronic book per month. Borrowers have to subscribe to Amazon's Prime service, which provides free two-day shipping and streaming...

Steve Jobs biography tops bestsellers

2011-11-06 THERE may not have been overnight queues of fans like those for the release of a new iPhone or iPad, but Steve Jobs produced another hit with the final work to bear his name: the only authorised biography of the Apple co-founder soared to the top of...

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Gates turns book reviewer

2011-10-30 BILL Gates: founder of Microsoft, philanthropist, computer whizz and now book reviewer. Last Wednesday, in a review on his website, the billionaire gave the thumbs-up to Vaclav Smil's Prime Movers of Globalization: The History and Impact of...

Ukraine's president accused of plagiarism

2011-10-30 IN HIS new book, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych shares his dreams about the future of his country. But are they his? Some parts of Opportunity Ukraine bear a striking resemblance to magazine articles, a lawmaker's speech and even a...

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Mallory and the conquest of Everest

2011-10-09 IN HIS wartime essay "England Your England", George Orwell characterised the English as a nation of hobbyists. It was the English tendency to form stamp collecting societies and angling clubs, Orwell claimed, which both cemented them as a...

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