Lara Feigel is the author of Free Woman: Life, Liberation and Doris Lessing The men I immediately think of who write women well are Tolstoy and Henry James. Anna Karenina and Isabel Archer in The Portrait of a Lady are both female characters who have taken on the status of real women, in my mind, and it’s worth spending time with them if you haven’t already. If you find Isabel Archer compelling, then the great news is that John Banville has given her another lease of life in Mrs Osmond, and she’s as alive as ever, because he’s another male novelist who writes women brilliantly, though his narrators are usually male. … [Read more...] about Book clinic: which male authors excel at writing female characters?
The Conservationist (1974)Sam Jordison wrote: "The intensity of this writing requires serious concentration, especially when coupled with an impressionistic narrative that skips backwards and forwards over time and situates us right inside Mehring's head – an increasingly unpleasant place to be. It's hard work – but is correspondingly effective." … [Read more...] about Nadine Gordimer: five must-read books
At the former monastery in the Vatican gardens, Benedict's home since becoming the first pontiff to resign in almost 600 years, the fear was 'that the emeritus pope has been used without his knowledge', it reported. … [Read more...] about Ex-pope Benedict DENIES co-writing book that criticised Pope Francis’s plans to let married men become priests as furore over dispute grips the Vatican
2. Diversify your reading Marvin Marcano, a personal development coach who reads a book a week, says diversifying your reading – more genres, or more than one book on the go at once – will inevitably result in you reading more. “This way you make it a priority because it’s fun. If you get burnt out, you can always go to something else.” If you are a very slow reader, try novellas and short stories so you can finish a book before you lose interest. … [Read more...] about Try a novella and ditch your snobbery: five ways to read more books
Almost everyone you speak to believes in upward social mobility; how could you not? No one can disagree with the proposition that your talent and hard work should take you as far as it can in life. Yet Britain is a deeply divided nation. After 20 years of improvement, poverty levels are on the rise again. Social mobility has flatlined. The upper reaches of our industries and institutions are sclerotic and riven with privilege: “a closed shop at the top”, as the Social Mobility Foundation put it. Only 7% of the British population attend independent fee-paying schools. And yet in my own profession, 71% of barristers have attended independent schools, and only 29% are state educated. Although only 1% of the population is educated at Oxbridge, 78% of the bar attended those universities. It is not a coincidence that these worlds mirror each other so closely. Barristers move seamlessly from one stone-built, green-lawned quad to the next, their colleagues and mentors people who … [Read more...] about ‘Social mobility only works for a tiny few’: an extract from People Like Us by Hashi Mohamed