editor’s choice

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  Iconic American folksinger and civil-rights activist Pete Seeger sadly passed away on Monday evening. Seeger, who was 94, was key to the development of the 20th-century folk–political music movement, influencing musicians ranging from Bob Dylan and Don MacLean to Billy Bragg and Bruce Springsteen. The latter’s 2006 album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions … Continue readings

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  ‘I have no words for you, my dearest … You are mine, I am yours’ – Letter No 1   Sunday. I have no words for you, my dearest, – I shall never have – You are mine, I am yours. Now, here is one sign of what I said: that I must love … Continue readings

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  ‘Detective Mallory just called. She shut down the play.’… Axel Clayborne scanned his new lines. ‘Did she say why?’ ‘Bad behavior,’ said Cyril. ‘Too many dead bodies in the audience.’ The actor nodded. ‘I suppose last night was overkill.’ –It Happens in the Dark, p. 120   Modern crime fiction is a wondrous thing. … Continue readings

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  EDITOR’S CHOICE I absolutely love American crime writer Carol O’Connell. Since I first read Mallory’s Oracle (1994), which introduced the extremely odd and emotionally challenged Kathy Mallory, these books have literally grabbed me by the throat and I pace around until the next book is published. O’Connell’s standalone titles are also chillingly brilliant in … Continue readings

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EDITOR’S CHOICE I love Ngaio Marsh. One of the Four Queens of Mystery, along with Agatha Christie, Margaret Allingham and Dorothy L. Sayers, Marsh was born in New Zealand on 23 April 1895. She grew up in Christchurch and studied art, before joining a theatrical arts company. From 1928 she spent about half her time … Continue readings

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  I have, in recent times, realised I enjoy a good crush. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to the subject. I don’t discriminate on the grounds of sex, age, race, even species – I am an equal-opportunities bestower of my affections – something that has sadly led to ridicule by certain friends and … Continue readings

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EDITOR’S CHOICE Irish dramatist and poet WB Yeats is amongst The Literary Shed’s favourite poets. One of the leading figures of 20th-century literature, Yeats has influenced many writers, poets, musicians and artists. An Irish nationalist, much of Yeats’ early work focuses on that subject and his love for fellow nationalist Maude Gonne. Yeats was close … Continue readings

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  EDITOR’S CHOICE Alistair Maclean. What can I say? Master of great plots, action-page turners, involving major complicated international operations full of spies, international intrigue and so much more. Like so many other people, I grew up reading him. He’s superb. Born in Glasgow, Maclean grew up speaking Gaellic, with English as his second language. … Continue readings

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EDITOR’S CHOICE Brilliant writer Dame Penelope Lively was born in Cairo. As a teenager, she was sent to boarding school in England before going on to read Modern History at St Anne’s College, Oxford. Lively is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author of both adult and children’s fiction. Her books include Moon Tiger (1987), which won … Continue readings

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EDITOR’S CHOICE San Francisco-based author Armistead Maupin was born in Washington, DC, but grew up in North Carolina. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, he served as a naval officer in Vietnam. After moving to California, in the early 1970s, Maupin began working as a journalist. In 1976, he launched the daily fictional … Continue readings

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EDITOR’S CHOICE Award-winning, best-selling writer Nora Roberts is one of the most popular authors in the world, selling billions of copies of books in a multitude of languages. Roberts, who began her career writing romances for Silhouette, published her first book in 1981. She has since turned romance, romantic-suspense and paranormal romance writing into an … Continue readings

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  New Zealand-born Len Lye was an experimental animator and sculptor. He is known primarily for a series of innovative films produced in the 1930s and 40s, the earlier while working with John Grierson’s much acclaimed GPO Film Unit. A Colour Box (1935) was particularly influential – wonderful Norman McLaren took up animation full time … Continue readings

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  Night Mail, the GPO Film Unit’s 1936 documentary, seemingly had everything going for it from the start – from its directors Harry Watt and Basil Wright, narrators John Grierson and Stuart Legg to the poem that WH Auden wrote especially for it and the music score composed by a 23-year-old Benjamin Britten. The GPO … Continue readings

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  The Bodley Head found itself, at the beginning of the week, sold out of ‘Penguins’, 150,000 having been sold out in four days.… — The Bookseller, 8 August 1935, a week after Penguin’s launch   In the early 1930s, Allen Lane, then director of The Bodley Head publishers, was returning from a weekend stay … Continue readings

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  Believe it or not, ‘petrichor’ is a word for that gorgeous sweet smell that occurs as the first rains hit parched earth. How lovely is that?