January recommendations

Baby it’s cold, and wet, outside so brighten your days by losing yourself in one or two, or all of these recommendations from 26 members. From a punchy exhibition on journalism and conflict, to THE silent movie we’re all talking about, and a marriage plot…

Frontline: A Year of Journalism and Conflict – at Somerset House until 5 February

This little exhibition packs a punch. It tells the stories behind the stories we saw flashing across our TV screens last year: uprisings in Egypt, Syria and Libya, followed by riots across the UK. See how journalists managed to get their stories, including secret filming in the city of Homs in Syria and broadcasts via a mini satellite dish powered by a car cigarette lighter in Libya. Well worth catching before it finishes on 5 February. Fiona Thompson

The Artist

I know the phrase, ‘if you only see one film this year, see this one’, is hackneyed, but even though it’s only January, this has to be the response to seeing The Artist. It’s one of those life affirming films that you watch from beginning to end with a smile, and the feeling of joy stays with you for days. All the talk is about the fact that it’s a black and white silent movie, and yes, the style of film-making is part of the pleasure (especially when Hazanavicius plays games with the format), but it’s mostly the story and the charming visual acting from Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo that delight. Just go. Today. Don’t wait for the DVD, it’s the type of film that picture houses were made for. Martin Lee

Just My Type by Simon Garfield

This book is not just my type, but I suspect the type of many 26ers. A wonderful digression through five hundred years of font history, giving accounts of the origination of many of the famous and infamous fonts through the ages. But be warned. Never again will you simply settle for default email fonts (like Calibri). Everything will feel like a decision. What is this font saying about me? And if you need help answering that question, then not only do you need the book, but the help of Pentagram’s What Type Are You? programme (Marina Script seeing as you’re asking). Hmmm. Martin Lee

The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester
Recommended by my mum, but don’t let that put you off. This slim volume describes the birth of the OED and the role of two men in its creation – one a high-minded Victorian philologist straight from central casting, the other a mad American murderer plagued by all manner of strange terrors. Curiously compelling. Roger Horberry

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.

26 co-founder, John Simmons got me into Eugenides with ‘Middlesex’. I’ve been hooked ever since. Waiting patiently. His latest novel, ‘The Marriage Plot’ has been nine years in the writing. He is a master of big, sweeping stories. Following three characters who graduate from Brown University in 1982, it’s a post modern take on 19th century romance, but is more about coming of age than marriage. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find a book I loved as much as Jennifer Egan’s ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’, and then this book came along… Elen Lewis

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