Josh Levin | Slate | 19th December 2013
Amazing tale. The woman whom Ronald Reagan denounced in 1976 as a "welfare queen" wasn't a propaganda creation. She was real, and welfare fraud was the least of it. "In the 1970s alone, Taylor was investigated for homicide, kidnapping, and baby trafficking. The detective who tried desperately to put her away believes she’s responsible for one of Chicago’s most legendary crimes, one that remains unsolved to this day"
Alex Danchev | Times Literary Supplement | 18th December 2013
Review of The Modern Art Cookbook, "a potpourri (or perhaps a bouillabaisse) of literary texts in verse and prose, recipes and images" by Mary Ann Caws; and Modern Art Desserts, "a different kettle of fish – more rambunctious, more delirious, more ingenious" by Caitlin Freeman, chef at the San Francisco MOMA café. "These gorgeous books capture something of the splendour of looking, and making, and sharing"
Adam Roberts | The Economist | 21st December 2013
Mothers-in-law are "demonised and ridiculed all over the world". They have an especially feared place in Indian culture, where marriage is arranged, the bride moves into the groom's house, and may be "little more than a skivvy". "A woman in Delhi says that, when her Bengali mother-in-law visits, she insists on sleeping in the marital bed with her son; the wife budges over or decamps to a sofa" (Free registration required)
Telegraph | 20th December 2013
Great first paragraph: "Sree Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma , who has died aged 91, was head of the family that once ruled the south Indian kingdom of Travancore and remained largely unknown to the wider world until 2011, when it was revealed that a temple of which he was hereditary custodian contained untold treasures". The value of the treasures so far recovered: $26bn (Metered paywall)
Nico Muhly | 19th December 2013
Composer's track-by-track review of Beyoncé. "Her voice feels, here, stretched in all the best ways, and she is experimenting with various modes of vocal production, vibrato, enunciation, and textual stylization. She is relishing the individual words of her lyrics, and savoring the shapes of the phrases the songs demand of her. When she freaks, as is her wont, a bridge or a second chorus, it is an insane and welcome delight"
Thought for the day:
"The point of socialism is to convert hysterical misery into ordinary unhappiness" — Corey Robin
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