What’s Been On My Mind This Week

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1. I’ve just returned to London from the Hay Festival, a ten-day gathering of some of the world’s greatest thinkers, from writers to philosophers, economists to historians. The BBC was recording all the talks and events, and you can watch them online here.

2. Maya Angelou, the great American author and poet, died earlier this week. Here is the New York Times obituary.

3. In this series of posts I have often linked to articles that explore the social invisibility of women in various forms. Just this week I came across this brilliant article by author Vanessa Veselka which explores that subject in a fascinating way.

4. Still thinking about UKIP and the recent European Elections, I enjoyed this summary in the Economist.

5. More on Europe, again from an American perspective, this time in the New Yorker, which looks in detail at the success of Marine Le Pen’s far right party in France.

6. Also in the wake of the European Elections, British novelist Hanif Kureishi wrote an interesting piece on immigration in the Guardian.

7. I read another excellent article in the New Republic, this time on feminism and the importance of teaching young girls and boys home economics.

8. I’m very excited at the prospect of the second season of Orange is the New Black, which will be available on Netflix in its entirety on Friday. If you haven’t watched the first season yet, I would recommend you do so.

9. It’s wonderful to know you’re in the hands of master when reading a novel. One of the perks of my job is being able to read books months before they’re published, and I’ve just finished Sarah Waters‘ forthcoming book, The Paying Guests. It’s set in South London in the early 1920s and most of the book takes place in a house in Camberwell, and narrates what happens when the owners of the house – Frances Wray and her widowed mother – take in a married couple, the Barbers, as lodgers in order to make ends meet. The Paying Guests will be published in August.

10. This week I’ve gone back about thirteen years and have been listening to an old favourite: Resist, the debut album from British electronica/drum and bass group Kosheen. It’s vocal-led, light drum and bass infused with elements of pop and trip-hop and has some brilliant dance tracks, too.

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