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Property by Lionel Shriver and Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith

Property Lionel ShriverBy coincidence, I have recently read two collections of short fiction by two of my favourite authors which bring together stories united around specific themes. ‘Property’ is Lionel Shriver’s first collection of short stories which all address the title’s literal definition in relation to real estate and also in a more figurative sense as ownership and possession. Ten shorter pieces many of which have previously been published in magazines are bookended by two novellas ‘The Standing Chandelier’ about the dynamics of Weston Babansky’s 20+ year friendship with Jillian Frisk and her unusual choice of wedding gift when he marries his girlfriend Paige and ‘The Subletter’ written in 1999 about an American journalist living in Belfast during the Troubles who has territorial struggles of her own. Continue reading

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Book Igloo

This is a book igloo created by Colombian artist Miler Lagos.  I could quite happily live here… not entirely sure how stable it is though.  It would be kind of annoying if you really wanted to read one of the books that forms part of the dome but couldn’t remove it without the whole thing collapsing.  Nightmare.  Still super cool though.

 

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At Home by Bill Bryson

At HomeThe subtitle of ‘At Home’ by Bill Bryson is ‘A Short History of Private Life’ – in other words, a history of all aspects of domestic life including eating, cleaning and sleeping and so on.  As well as exploring how the modern idea of the home has developed over history both in its architecture and our daily habits, each chapter covers a different room in the house – the kitchen, the dining room, the cellar (even the fusebox) and the stories behind how we live.  ‘At Home’ covers an ambitious amount of history without ever being overwhelming or tedious and Bryson’s characteristically dry humour makes it a thoroughly entertaining read. Continue reading

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