What’s Been On My Mind This Week

Question Mark1. There was an article in the Economist this week about the amount of personal data we willingly share with the world, mostly via social media. Worried about this development, and in order to regain some control over her own personal data, Jennifer Lyn Morone, an American living in London, has taken the interesting step of registering herself as a corporation.

2. I read a brilliant feature in the New Republic about our ‘libertarian age’, the difference between ideology and dogma, and the West’s blind faith in democracy.

3. Actress Doon Mackichan wrote a long feature in the New Statesman (based on a talk she gave at the Hay Festival a few weeks ago) explaining why she refuses to accept a role in any show that uses violence against women as a form of entertainment.

4. There was an interview between two American writers in Salon magazine, in which they discuss – among other things – the issue of race in the publishing world.

5. Articles about the state of ‘women’s fiction’ and the covers put on books written by women are frequent. This week there was a good one in the Boston Globe.

6. I read Barracuda, Christos Tsiolkas’ latest novel, earlier this year and really enjoyed it. It’s the story of Danny Kelly, growing up in Melbourne and training to be an Olympic swimmer. This week, the Guardian uploaded a fascinating podcast in which Tsiolkas and two other writers discuss the representation of sport in literature.

7. Eimear McBride won the Desmond Elliot Prize for fiction for her novel A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. Novelist Chris Cleave made an impassioned speech about the current state of literature and writing in this country, and the Daily Telegraph offers a good account of his main points.

8. I’ve finally started watching Australian drama, Wentworth Prison, which airs in the UK on Channel 5. Described as a ‘contemporary re-imagining’ of iconic drama Prisoner: Cell Block HWentworth Prison is set in present-day Australia and focuses on the character of Bea Smith, a woman on remand for the attempted murder of her husband.

9. I’ve been reading A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray. It’s the story of a Mormon family living outside Leeds, and what happens to each of them when the youngest child dies of meningitis.

10. I’ve been listening to When It Was Now, the debut album from Australian alternative rock band, Atlas Genius. Released last year, it’s an uneven first offering, with flashes of brilliance, which the group is unfortunately unable to sustain for the whole length of the album. The first two tracks (‘Electric’ and ‘If So’) are the stand-outs, demonstrating a talent for mixing synths with guitar and piano. While the other tracks are entertaining enough, they don’t quite stand up to repeated listening in the same way.

 

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