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Culture tip: The Reason I Jump

Culture tip: The Reason I Jump

Knowing what we’re really thinking is an elusive enough goal, knowing what someone else has on their mind is harder still, and what if that person thinks in an entirely different way? That’s often how the minds of people with autism are depicted: qualitatively different and impossible to understand. The Reason I Jump breaks through a lot of the misconceptions surrounding autism and gives an insight into how the author, a person with autism himself, sees the world. Translated, and featuring a forward, by acclaimed author David Mitchell, the book is a combination of...
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Four Thoughts on Anxiety About Ageing

Four Thoughts on Anxiety About Ageing

1. Why are some older people described as 'still beautiful', as though age mostly erases beauty? Banish the words from your vocabulary, along with other self-deprecating remarks about ageing bodies, and admiring comments about people who don't look their age. Train your eyes to recognise and your language to include 'old and beautiful'. 2. We read so often about frail old people yet resilient, engaged, vital and outraged ones surround us. If they're not in your family seek them out as your friends, especially if you're young: it will help dispel the...
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What Lena Dunham's Girls Can Teach Us About Female Friendships

What Lena Dunham's Girls Can Teach Us About Female Friendships

In popular culture female friendships have often been portrayed either as giggly gossips or as catty and competitive, while girls (and women) themselves are on a quest for an ideal girlfriend - a soul mate who always understands them, with whom they share all intimate secrets and with whom they never argue. For giggly, think of the Sex and the City quartet doubled over in wicked laugher at the men they take to bed; for catty, think of Lady Edith doing her best to ruin Lady Mary’s chances for happiness in Downton Abbey, for the ideal, think of sweetness between...
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Let’s Do Lunch – in a Graveyard

Let’s Do Lunch – in a Graveyard

When I tell people that, for four years, I have spent most of my spare time in graveyards, they always look a little alarmed. They shouldn’t. In the process of writing and researching my book Finding the Plot: 100 Graves to Visit Before You Die, I have visited scores of graveyards: grand and tiny, Victorian and modern, manicured and tumbledown.  Not depressing, nor weird, they are fascinating places with so many things to notice: those names (like Myrtle, Ethel etc) you’d forgotten existed, intriguing epitaphs, and some amazing monuments which, in places such as Highgate in...
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Culture Tip: The Circle

Culture Tip: The Circle

I was racing through Dave Eggers' The Circle over Christmas and enjoying it so much, I just had to tweet something about it. But what? "Am loving the way this book makes social media sound like a totalitarian state #1984"  Or "Mister Cool Dave Eggers is acting like a technophobic dinosaur" Or simply "Step away from the screens!"? To explain. This novel is about a young woman, Mae Holland,  who gets a job at a Google-(or is it Facebook?)like company and gets drawn further and further into a technological takeover of her life. What starts out as social...
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