26 Recommends

I can’t understand how Rosamond Pike didn’t get an Oscar nomination for A Private War. Her portrayal of The Times’ war correspondent Marie Colvin was stunningly accurate and poignant, capturing her courage and determination, her trauma, her charisma, even her voice and mannerisms to perfection. An inspiring and heartrending film.

– Rowena Roberts 

John Ruskin: The Power of Seeing at Two Temple Place, London

Marking the bicentenary of polymath John Ruskin is a wide-ranging show of drawings from nature, paintings, daguerrotypes, plaster casts and printed work. Ruskin idealised a form of aesthetic beauty, charged with a radical belief that art was integrated into society, and workers had a right to experience it. A timely reassessment.

– Philip Parker

Just started to read Flights by Olga Tokarczuk which won the Man Booker International Prize in 2018 for its Polish author and Jennifer Croft (translator). Described as a novel “possessing the wonder of music”, it’s a travel journey through stories set over the last four centuries. Like WG Sebald, it navigates towards the heart of what it means to be human.

Excited by the new 26 Trees project announced by John Simmons. I hope to get the chance to write about one of the native species of the North Argyll coastline.

– Sandy Wilkie

My recommendation this month is a book of short stories by Lucia Berlin, called A Manual For Cleaning Women. I’ve only read the first few so far but am absolutely loving them. In one, a young girl helps her dentist grandfather pull out all his teeth in one go – revolting and fascinating at the same time. Lucia Berlin died in 2004 and only now seems to be getting the recognition she deserves – her work has been compared to Alice Munro and Raymond Carver.

– Jill Hopper

I have been lucky enough to read some marvellous books during March, the pick of which (and an unqualified delight) was Old Baggage by Lissa Evans. Set in 1928-29, on and around Hampstead Heath, it follows Mattie Simpkin, a former militant suffragette, whose committed campaigning saw her imprisoned five times.

Now nearing sixty, Mattie’s zest for life and ardour for fairness remain undimmed, yet also largely unappreciated. Lissa Evans scores a major success, combining a brief history of the suffragette movement, observation of the hardships confronting large families in the Depression, and a heart-warming story about retaining one’s principles as one grows older. She does all that with a light touch, and great humour, in a thoroughly enchanting prose style. – Ian Brydon

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