1. Let’s start with America this week, and a short article in the Economist on the current position of the Ku Klux Klan in the Southern states.
2. I found this feature by an Ivy League professor in the New Republic particularly interesting. In it, he argues that Ivy League schools are overrated.
3. There was an article in the New York Times on the Republican primary system and a call for it to become an ‘open’ (or ‘top two’) primary, rather than the current ‘winner-take-all’ system.
4. There was a rather hilarious BuzzFeed piece on Hillary Clinton’s ‘sass’. I defy you not to laugh.
5. A feature in the New Republic asked why there are no big-money female political donors.
6. Moving from America to China, the Economist reported on the results of China’s relaxing of its one-child policy last year.
7. In the UK, the longlist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize for fiction was announced. The first year in which Americans were eligible for the prize, the longlist features four American authors (out of thirteen). There are only three women on the list. I enjoyed reading this blogger’s coverage of the longlisted titles.
8. Also in literary news, there was this article in Salon about the publishing industry and J K Rowling’s latest novel, The Silkworm.
9. Playwright Anthony Neilson wrote this brilliant piece in the Guardian about what is really important in theatre today: it has to entertain.
10. The supermodel Andreja Pejic came out as a transgender woman and gave this interview to Style magazine.
11. This week I read Quarantine by Jim Crace. The novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1997. While I always admire Crace’s prose, and often find myself reading and rereading his sentences, I have to admit that I found this particular novel particularly hard work, and struggled to finish it.
12. It’s been pretty hot in London for the past few weeks, and weather like this always makes me want to listen to French pop music. I’m not sure why. So I’ve been listening to Je Veux, the 2010 album by French singer ZAZ.