FiveBooks Newsletter 18
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This week Kathryn Schulz says fame as a pundit is inversely proportional to
the ability to make accurate predictions on your subject of expertise.
We’ve got Edwidge Danticat on Haitian literature, Richard Baum on Chinese
Reform, Nikola Masitic on Opera, Kwame Anthony Appiah on Honour and a
shocking interview with Khushi Kabir on the lives of rural women.
_Kathryn Schulz on Wrongness_
Monday, October 18th
Kathryn Schulz chooses five books on wrongness from St Augustine to
Elizabeth Bennet and delivers the not-so-shocking news that fame as an
expert is proven to be inversely proportional to accuracy. Political
forecasts, she says, are seldom better than monkeys throwing darts.
_Khushi Kabir on Rural Women in the Developing World_
Tuesday, October 19th
Khushi Kabir, head of Nijera Kori (We Do It Ourselves) and a member of South
Asian Feminist Network SANGAT, says foreign aid is not always a blessing.
When Reagan was elected in 1981 the US refused to continue to help with
population control unless abortion was made illegal. It wasn’t, aid was
reduced, women died.
Kwame Anthony Appiah on Honour_
Wednesday, October 20th
Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah says American optimism is founded in the lack
of awareness that society is, in fact, strictly stratified. The rich give
their children crucial educational advantages but those without a chance of
making it continue to hope blindly.
Edwidge Danticat on Haitian Literature_
Thursday, October 21st
Haitian author Edwidge Danticat plunges us into the vastly complex lives of
her compatriots with extraordinary novels and poems from a literary movement
often forced underground – writers meeting together in secret, the brutal
murder of an author critical of the regime and an overwhelming feeling of
camaraderie in adversity.
Richard Baum on the Obstacles to Political Reform in China_
Friday, October 22nd
UCLA professor Richard Baum says China’s leaders display a strong hint of
‘post-Tiananmen stress disorder’: a near-pathological fear of spontaneous,
unauthorised political activity. ‘This fear tends to bring out their worst
political instincts,’ he says. ‘It makes me more receptive to a pessimistic
assessment of China’s political future.’
_Nikola Matisic on Opera_
Saturday, October 23rd
Tenor Nikola Matisic says opera singers have to act more than ever before.
‘Nowadays you have to be able to fight and dance and lie down on the floor
while you are singing. Essentially you are screaming at the top of your
lungs – so imagine doing that while walking very carefully with a candle or
a lantern!’ That’s quite apart from watching the conductor and relating to
the other singers on stage…
Don’t miss France Week on FiveBooks, starting today with Jonathan Fenby and
Sudhir Hazareesingh on Charles de Gaulle and the French Resistance.
Have a great week.
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