Blog of the week

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As you can tell, I like to read, so a blog all about reading will always be a winner with me. Macdonald is actually an academic who has published several fascinating-sounding journal articles and a book about the conservatism of John Buchan and Dornford Yates’ writing.

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Since browsing her blog’s backlist, I’ve come across the autobiography of the man who painted the most famous portraits of Lawrence of Arabia, and who’s writing in 1940s Morocco decided to recall his Victorian life in Aberdeen, an HG Wells war book published in 1916 that criticised the generals and the public’s unthinking jingoism – despite possibly inspiring some of Churchill’s later speeches of WW2 – and has a very sympathetic portrait of a young German, a bizarre novel of post-civil war America that firmly upholds social and racial segregation (Macdonald compares it to being wowed by a 1930s German novella and then finding out that the author was seriously pro-Nazi), and the links of Buchan and WonderWoman. Her podcast sounds a blast too. Read all about it here.

(Shelfies of my own book collection, July 2017 / October 2013.)

Indulgence

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Sorry/not sorry for the shouty capitals, but if you are in or visiting London then YOU MUST GO to Coin Street, one of the backroads between Waterloo and the Southbank, and the restaurant Sticky Mango.

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I’m still having dreams about the Singapore-style crab with creamy tomato sauce, the pin-sharp taste of the oysters, and of course the eponymous sticky mango dessert, made up to look like a fried egg. All photos from Sticky Mango’s website and Twitter feed.

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The Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation (who also have an excellent app, allowing you to search for poems at the intersection of Humour, Commitment, and Work and Play, amongst other terms) has just revamped their website too.

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It’s a dream. Poets from the 8th century and earlier – good old Anon – to the present day can be searched by name or theme.

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I especially liked the pre-made collections. Summer had the Amy Lowell poem on the bath, whilst Movie Heroes & Villains had several crackers, including What I Learned From the Incredible Hulk, May Swenson’s very funny poem about watching Roger Moore as Bond whilst struggling with the popcorn, and tame Monsters in the Closet (“Dracula wants to drink my blood – I think that’s rather rude.”).

If you click through to a poet’s page, it includes a link to their other poems and I’ve already had a gorge on Ben Jonson, whose wit appeals to me more and more. But best of all is discovering so many new poets: Paisley Rokdal, Gwendolyn Brooks, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jesse Randall, Lucia Perillo and James Weldon Johnson. In fact, this website’s a model of what to be: made for easy browsing by the beginner, but segmented enough for the specialist researcher and not falling into the usual school textbook cliches for the anthologies.

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Sao Paolo

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This floating display method in the Sao Paolo Museum of Art look stunning. The building itself – a glass box floating between a brilliant red pair of bands, and set in a lush green garden isn’t bad either.

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My town

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Spending an increasing amount of time round Spitalfields, an area I first discovered in my gap year and liked straight away, I was fascinated to come across this tale of the Jewish Free School that used to exist.

This article on the Spitalfields Life blog tells you more about the school and the author and pro-women’s suffrage campaigner Israel Zangwill who worked there. Zangwill’s play The Melting Pot, in praise of America’s role as home to a new society of the pioneer and traveller, was publically applauded by Theodore Roosevelt, whilst his mother’s chemical inventions included a proposal to clear the trenches of mustard gas that the War Office rejected. I can’t wait for the autumn when Persephone Books publish more about this family, and in the meantime I am off to walk a new part of London today with the Bishopsgate Institute.

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Images from the Spitalfields Life blog post.