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The Couple Next Door is the next Girl on the Train - but much better

Gone Girl has changed the face of women’s fiction. Since the success of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 thriller, white book covers with high heels and flicky pink writing have been replaced by dark images and bold, monosyllabic titles. Chick-lit has given way to a wave of accessible psychological thrillers aimed at women. The British author Paula Hawkins had comparable success to Flynn with her novel The Girl on the Train, which Barack Obama had on his reading list this summer. Now the Canadian writer Sh
iNews

Novelist Anne Tyler tries to update Shakespeare for young people

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, the publishing imprint Hogarth Shakespeare has asked some of today’s best-known novelists to pen modern-day versions of his plays. The Taming of the Shrew has been given a 21st-century twist by Anne Tyler, whose most recent novel, A Spool of Blue Thread, was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize last year. Readers who were teens in the 1990s might well remember that the Shakespearean comedy was famously adapted into the 1999 movi
The Independent

10 best feminist books

With International Women’s Day around the corner, we take a look at some of the best feminist reads promoting women in the workplace and on the sports field. From laugh-out-loud memoirs to accessible academic essays, these recent releases and re-issues are a must-read for women and men alike. Is modern feminism anti-men? Is feminism still a shameful word? Twenty five women under 30 explain why they consider themselves feminists in this series of essays by writers including Everyday Sexism’s Lau
The Independent

10 best book club reads for 2016

If you’re not sure what to suggest for your book club in 2016, try one of these accessible novels due to be released this year. From best-selling author Helen Dunmore’s Cold War spy novel Exposure, to newcomer Claire Vaye Watkins’s dystopian debut Gold Fame Citrus and psychological thriller The Widow by Fiona Barton, there are plenty of new releases to stoke the imagination and get the conversation started. 1. The Museum of You by Carys Bray: £12.99 hardback and ebook, Random House Written by
The Independent

What's it like to work as a sewage flusher?

The smell of human waste isn't as bad as you might think, says sewage flusher Nick Fox. The project manager for Thames Water walks around London's sewers for hours a day, but says it isn't as disgusting as it sounds. "The smell is more like earthy compost. It's like being stood in a slightly brown stream, and not much higher than your ankles," he says. The worst part of the job isn't the human waste, but dealing with "fatbergs" that accumulate in the sewers full of oils, grease, hand wipes and
The Independent

The Robert Galbraith story: How JK Rowling was uncovered

How long JK Rowling wanted to keep her crime writer pseudonym a secret, we will never know. The Harry Potter author released her first Robert Galbraith novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, in April 2013 under the guise of a very British sounding man who was said to have previously served in the army. But her nom-de-plume was uncovered three months later after an indiscreet tweet divulging the true identity of Galbraith was sent by “@JudeCallegari”, a family friend of Christopher Gossage, a partner at Ro
The Independent

10 best Indian novels and travel books

There is such a wealth of information available for travellers heading to India, it is often hard to know where to start.  While travel guides offer useful travellers’ tips, nothing can get under the skin of the country quite like these books. From classic novels that have been reprinted several times to Man Booker prize-winners and contemporary accounts of modern-day India, fiction offers a rich insight into India’s diverse culture and complex history. While novels can often seem more realisti
The Independent

An artist is using famous masterpieces to draw attention to the tragedy of Syria

Syrian artist Tammam Azzam has found his own way of speaking out against the Syrian crisis. Using famous paintings from the Western world projected against bombed buildings, Azzam aims to “draw attention to the tragedy of Syria”. His most popular work, “Freedom Graffiti”, shows Gustav Klimt’s well-known painting “The Kiss” superimposed onto a bombed Syrian building. “I chose it as an icon of love, a way of looking for the stories of love behind this wall that was completely obliterated by the
The Independent

Artist Jamie McCartney explains why he created The Great Wall of Vagina

Scientists have now answered one of these great unknowns. According to a new study, “general cosmetic appearance” is the most important penile aspect when it comes to what women value down there. This is swiftly followed by the appearance of pubic hair, penile skin, and girth. Length comes in at number six, with the look of the scrotum trailing closely behind. The least important facet of the phallus, say the scientists, is the “position and shape of meatus”, the vertical slit at the opening of
The Independent

Diary of a Teenage Girl star says film 'does not promote under age sex'

The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a coming of age film about a 15-year-old discovering her sexuality, but the movie has been at the centre of controversy after being given a “disappointing” 18 certificate by an all-male British Board of Film Classification panel. The film follows school girl Minnie, played by British actress Bel Powley, who becomes obsessed with her sexual feelings after her mother’s 35-year-old boyfriend has sex with her. Despite only showing one scene of full frontal nudity, in
The Independent

Lily James plays 'the most kickass Elizabeth Bennet yet'

Lily James is best known for playing the demure Lady Rose in Downton Abbey, but her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet in the upcoming film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is much less decorous. The actress will play “the most kickass Elizabeth Bennett we’ve ever seen”, according to her Mr Darcy co-star Sam Riley. The premise of the film sees the Pride and Prejudice characters transported to an alternative version of Regency era England, where an under-class of zombies threaten to overtake the Brit
The Independent

Wireless 2015 review: Urban music festival surrenders to EDM

Videos of gatecrashers storming Wireless and Nicki Minaj turning up late to her set overshadowed this year’s festival, but what about the music itself?  While Damage and Mary J Blige warmed up the crowd for those who remember a time when R&B music had a melody rather than a thumping bass, headliners Avicii and David Guetta catered for a new generation of fans that have pushed the definition of urban music into house and EDM. Sunday night headliner Guetta was a better fit than Aviici, who rarely
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