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SRB: Monkey Business

SRB Picks of the Week 30 May 2008
By Jeremy Rose for the Scoop Review of Books
In this week's SRB Picks: Shakespeare an Italian Jewess? Janet Frame and the Marx Brothers and: the Charleston Heston of the motor car - Jeremy Clarkson at Britain's premier literary fest.

Links to all of the following articles can be found at: http://books.scoop.co.nz/monkey-business/

Germaine Greer's recent book Shakespeare's Wife made the case that there was far more to Ann Hathaway than the supposedly illiterate schemer of traditional Shakespeareology Now an amateur Shakespeare buff, John Hudson, has gone one better and proposed Shakespeare was actually a Jewish woman - or at least the Shakespeare that composed the famous sonnets was. Nutty? Probably but decide for yourself.

Shakespeare wouldn't be the first famous artist to be mistakenly labeled a Jew. Charlie Chaplin found himself listed in a Jewish Who's Who and the Nazis, who despised him for his classic attack on Hitler - The Great Dictator - also declared him a Jew. When a Nazi accused Chaplin to his face of being a Jew - Chaplin replied: "That's one honour I don't have." Beautiful.

As far as I know no-one's tried to claim Janet Frame as a Jewess but there's no questioning the Jewishness of The Marx Brothers who feature in a story by the late author in the latest New Yorker Magazine.

Britain's Hay literary festival has been dominating the books pages of its newspapers this week and the Guardian has a series of podcasts featuring some of the stars - who include everyone from the aforementioned Jeremy Clarkson to Gore Vidal, Christopher Hitchens, George Monbiot and Naomi Klein. They're worth a listen - though I don't reckon the interviewer is as good as some of our local talent.

Haycast 05:
Colin Tudge gives advice on averting the global food crisis, John Reader extols the potato, and Matt Seaton rides bikes while Jeremy Clarkson sounds off


Haycast 02: The state of America: Gore Vidal chats to Claire Armitstead, while Christopher Hitchens, Naomi Klein and George Monbiot dissect religion and politics in the House of Hay

Published by the Scoop Review of Books this Week http://books.scoop.co.nz

Jewish Baghdad: A City Lost
Farewell Babylon: Coming of Age in Jewish Baghdad By Naim Kattan
Souvenir Press, $50. Reviewed by LEON BENBARUK
Farewell Babylon is the translation from the original French book Adieu Babylone (1975) and tells of the writer’s journey through identity.
It’s a story about loss (leaving Baghdad) and discovery, about his Jewish friend Nessim in Baghdad and British colonial rule which sheds some light on today’s Iraq and the relationships between Arabs, Kurds, Bedouins, Assyrians, Armenians and Jews – and about Muslim domination by Sunnis and Shi-ites on the rest of society.


Writer Block Recomends The Net
By Sally Conor
American writer Stefan Merrill Block believes that technology and the internet are completely changing the way young novelists are writing and structuring their work.
Block, 26, who made a flying visit to Auckland this week, says a whole generation of writers have been influenced by the development of word processing and this has led to a watershed moment in the history of literature.

Poem of the Week: Le Temps
From: Magnetic South By Sue Wootton
Steele Roberts, $25.

Mash and Grab
Popular Potatoes by Simon & Alison Holst
HYNDMAN PUBLISHING, $25. Reviewed by KATHRYN HUTCHINSON
Potatoes, as you may well be aware, are good. This is not only because they are textually pleasing, tasty and of course psychologically satisfying. They are also good for you, at a physiological level.

Colonial Culture?
Facing the Music: Charles Baeyertz and the Triad, by Joanna Woods
Otago University Press, $45. Reviewed by JANE BLAIKIE
This thoroughly enjoyable biography springs from a period of New Zealand cultural history that’s been regarded with unease: colonial times.
Charles Baeyertz – musician, critic, writer and publisher of the Triad arts magazine – drives the narrative of Facing the Music in a vivid and engaging portrait of European New Zealand in the late 1800s into the twentieth century.

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