CFP: The Legacy of Radiohead's 'The Bends' 20 Years On [Deadlines: 29 Jan / 12 Feb]

 
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Tuesday, Jul 3, 2007

Most of the girls look like rock-solid citizens in this stronghold of Islam, but in the privacy of their homes (often vast sprawling affairs with home cinemas and swimming-pools) they throw parties (women only, of course), eat Burger King, watch cable television (Sex and the City is a big favourite), and live an undercover life that is an extraordinary ‘pot-pourri’ of West and East. They flirt with boys on the internet in Arabish (a mix of Arabic and English), send their drivers to pick up Frappuccinos from Starbucks, talk about ‘front bumpers’ and ‘back bumpers’ (breasts and bottoms) and reveal a world where women hide more than their desires under their long black abayas.


The UK Telegraph magazine has a fascinating interview, published last week, with Rajaa Alsanea, the 25-year-old Saudi Arabian author of Girls of Riyadh.


The book is making waves just about everywhere due to its frank portrayal of young, upperclass Saudi women. The Boston Herald has a piece on Alsanea, as does the San Francisco Chronicle. The Arab News has a revealing piece on the controversy, too.


The book is out Thursday, from Penguin.


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Monday, Jul 2, 2007
by Karen Heller [The Philadelphia Inquirer (MCT)]

Could there be a more brilliant title than The Dangerous Book for Boys? You could take two empty covers, stick a book of matches inside—dipped in wax for waterproofing as suggested—and come up a winner.


This handsome volume, authored by brothers Conn and Hal Iggulden, proffers advice on such essentials as spiders, poker, invisible ink, skinning a rabbit and making a go-cart, things every boy’s father knew as a boy.


OK, let’s not kid ourselves here. Every boy’s grandfather.


A phenomenon in the authors’ native England where it was published a year ago, Dangerous was named British Book of the Year, with more than half a million copies in print. Since its May debut on these shores, the retro manual, which has a $25 list price, has sold 211,000 copies. It crests Publishers Weekly‘s best-seller list, outselling Reagan, Gore, Diana, Hillary, Einstein and, well, God.


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Sunday, Jul 1, 2007
Courtesy: The Saturday Age, 30 June 2007, http://www.theage.com.au

Courtesy: The Saturday Age, 30 June 2007, http://www.theage.com.au



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Friday, Jun 29, 2007
by Sean G. Murphy

Kurt Vonnegut would say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit.  Often, he was asked: Have any artists successfully accomplished this? “The Beatles did”, he replied.

Vonnegut, whom time finally stuck to last week, lived a lot longer than he thought he would. For fans, he lived longer than many of them thought he would, too. Most of his avid readers have been preparing for his death, in earnest, since his suicide attempt in 1984. As it turned out, there were many more Pall Malls left to smoke. Then, in 1997, the author’s caliginous assertion that Timequake was to be his last novel did seem rather like a settling of accounts.


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Friday, Jun 29, 2007
by Peter Rozovsky [The Philadelphia Inquirer (MCT)]

the aftermath of murder is what absorbs these writers

What do four of Sweden’s most celebrated crime novelists share, other than international success, a fistful of prizes, and a hectic tour schedule?


“We are not interested in telling how to kill people,” Kjell Eriksson says. Oh, characters die, all right—these are crime novels, after all—and often in especially gory ways.


The ex-convict whose killing sets in motion Hakan Nesser’s The Return (Pantheon, $22.95) has been decapitated and dismembered. So has the male victim—or is the body female?—in Helene Tursten’s The Torso (Soho, $13). Little John in Eriksson’s The Princess of Burundi (St. Martin’s, $12.95) gets off easy. His killer/torturer removes just a few fingers.


As painful as these killings may be, though, there is little voyeurism in them. The reader does not see them happen. Investigators may throw up at the scene, but the upchucking is never extravagant or cathartic. The police react, they clean up, and they emerge, shaken perhaps, but ready to go on with their jobs.


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